College students rally behind national popular vote bill

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  • oldgulph VILLANOVA, PA
    Feb. 11, 2012 10:44 a.m.

    Dividing a state's electoral votes by congressional district winners would magnify the worst features of the Electoral College system.

    If the district approach were used nationally, it would be less fair and less accurately reflect the will of the people than the current system. In 2004, Bush won 50.7% of the popular vote, but 59% of the districts. Although Bush lost the national popular vote in 2000, he won 55% of the country's congressional districts.

    The district approach would not provide incentive for presidential candidates to campaign in a particular state or focus the candidates' attention to issues of concern to the state. With the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all laws (whether applied to either districts or states), candidates have no reason to campaign in districts or states where they are comfortably ahead or hopelessly behind, like Utah. In North Carolina, for example, there are only 2 districts (the 13th with a 5% spread and the 2nd with an 8% spread) where the presidential race is competitive. In California, the presidential race has been competitive in only 3 of the state's 53 districts. Nationwide, there have been only 55 "battleground" districts that were competitive in presidential elections. With the present deplorable 48 state-level winner-take-all system, 2/3rds of the states (including Utah, California and Texas) are ignored in presidential elections; however, 88% of the nation's congressional districts would be ignored if a district-level winner-take-all system were used nationally.

    Awarding electoral votes by congressional district could result in third party candidates winning electoral votes that would deny either major party candidate the necessary majority vote of electors and throw the process into Congress to decide.

    Because there are generally more close votes on district levels than states as whole, district elections increase the opportunity for error. The larger the voting base, the less opportunity there is for an especially close vote.

    Also, a second-place candidate could still win the White House without winning the national popular vote.

    A national popular vote is the way to make every person's vote equal and matter to their candidate because it guarantees that the candidate who gets the most votes in all 50 states and DC becomes President.

  • oldgulph VILLANOVA, PA
    Feb. 11, 2012 10:32 a.m.

    The National Popular Vote bill preserves the constitutionally mandated Electoral College and state control of elections. It changes the way electoral votes are awarded by states in the Electoral College, instead of the current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all system (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but since enacted by 48 states). It assures that every vote is equal, every voter will matter, in every state, in every presidential election, and the candidate with the most votes wins, as in virtually every other election in the country.

    Under National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every presidential election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count. The candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC would get the 270+ Electoral College votes from the enacting states. That majority of Electoral College votes guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

    National Popular Vote would give a voice to the minority party voters in each state. Now their votes are counted only for the candidate they did not vote for. Now they don't matter to their candidate.

    And votes, beyond the one needed to get the most votes in the state, for winning candidates in a state are wasted and don't matter to candidates. Utah (5 electoral votes) alone generated a margin of 385,000 "wasted" votes for Bush in 2004. 8 small western states, with less than a third of CaliforniaĆ¢s population, provided Bush with a bigger margin (1,283,076) than California provided Kerry (1,235,659).

    With National Popular Vote, every vote, everywhere would be counted equally for, and directly assist, the candidate for whom it was cast.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

  • oldgulph VILLANOVA, PA
    Feb. 11, 2012 10:27 a.m.

    Think about it for more than a minute.

    The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud. A very few people can change the national outcome by changing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.

    National Popular Vote would limit the benefits to be gained by fraud. One fraudulent vote would only win one vote in the return. In the current electoral system, one fraudulent vote could mean 55 electoral votes, or just enough electoral votes to win the presidency without having the most popular votes in the country.

    Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: "To steal the closest popular-vote election in American history, you'd have to steal more than a hundred thousand votes . . .To steal the closest electoral-vote election in American history, you'd have to steal around 500 votes, all in one state. . . .

    For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 election--and, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.

    Which, I ask you, is an easier mark for vote-stealers, the status quo or N.P.V.[National Popular Vote]? Which offers thieves a better shot at success for a smaller effort?"

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 9:15 p.m.

    Popular vote is a VERY bad idea.

    As proven in numerous elections, certain parties, and certain geographic areas have the ability to turn out massive numbers of votes for a chosen candidate. It is not just a joke that in Chicago even the dead vote early and often.

    Massive fraud like that is bad enough when it only swings the electoral college votes of a single state. It would be far worse if they were to manufacture the needed number of votes to swing a national election.

    Doubt if this stuff happens? Christine Gregoire won as Gov in Washington state after numerous recounts and more ballots kep being "found" in Seattle. The Minnesota Senate race ended the same way. Chicago- you dont even have to ask about their record.

  • TR 4 President SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Feb. 10, 2012 8:18 p.m.

    A more meaningful reform would be to rotate which states are allowed to have their Presidential Primaries early on in the selection process.

    Feb. 10, 2012 8:16 p.m.

    Wouldn't it be simpler, fairer and more in tune with the original intent of the constitution of states just followed Maine and Nebraska in awarding electors proportionally (which isn't exactly what they do, but close enough)?

    My biggest concerns about the proposed plan are A) it would make voter fraud easier and more widespread, and B) instead of focusing on swing states where moderates hold sway, there will focuses on Urban centers where more polarized forces are evident.

    Finally, I think it's ridiculous to suggest that politicians would care about Utah if the proposed change was made. If anything, we would be ignored even more because Salt Lake City isn't even in the top 100 cities in the US, and the rest of the state is even easier to ignore.

  • sg newhall, CA
    Feb. 10, 2012 8:05 p.m.

    If there ever is a successful movement to replace the electoral college with the popular vote, then what needs to be put into place prior are safeguards to avoid and prevent voter fraud; ie. illegals voting. Others voting multiple times at different polling stations. The only way I believe this can be done is with the requirement of showing some form of ID that proves the voter is a US citizen. If you arrive at the polling station without any form of ID, then you are NOT allowed to cast a vote. The argument that this is discriminatory for the elderly who cannot afford to obtain an ID is preposterous and an outright lie. Currently our federal government believes that it is unconstitutional to require such ID. It appears that this comes primarily from the Democrats who garner votes from those they belief are too poor to obtain such ID. How noble they appear to be in showing concern for the poor and disabled, so much so, that they deemed it inappropriate and illegal to show ID. No. they are categorically wrong. It is the right of all states to require such ID and it is NOT the business of the feds to interfere.