Letter: Electoral College response

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Mata Leao Ogden, UT
    April 25, 2019 8:31 p.m.

    @2bits
    "This is the procedure defined in our Constitution. Maybe it's you who needs to retake basic civics. The Constitution is the foundation and framework. The Constitution defines the process, not whatever we want."

    I'm not sure what you agree or disagree with about what I wrote. For starts, I'm in complete agreement with the letter writer. Maybe I wasn't clear enough.

  • EmmanuelGoldstein1984 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 25, 2019 6:09 p.m.

    In any system that purports to be a democracy or democratic republic, the operative principle is "one person, one vote." The Electoral College does not adhere to that principle, thus is not democratic in any sense of the word.

    As we've seen twice in the past five elections, the man who gained the Oval Office was not elected democratically. And yet in each case that man has been able to make Supreme Court appointments that have altered the course of American history, with much still to come. So the Supreme Court itself is no pillar of democracy.

    In short, at least two-thirds of our federal government structure is not democratic. And yet many if not most Americans routinely and unthinkingly refer to this country as "the world's greatest democracy"! Ah, the power of propaganda!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 25, 2019 3:19 p.m.

    Utah is already insignificant to national politicians. Why would you want to make us even more insignificant?

    The population of California is 40 Million. The population of Utah is 3 million. Who cares what Utah wants?

    We only matter in the Senate. Thank God for the Senate. Otherwise we may as well not exist.

    We don't matter in the Electoral College. Nobody cares if they get Utah or not, even if they get 100% of our electoral votes. We would matter to them even less if these people get their way.

    Utah and a few other States could disappear and national politicians wouldn't care.

  • oldgulph VILLANOVA, PA
    April 25, 2019 1:46 p.m.

    Support for a national popular vote has been strong in every smallest state surveyed in polls among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group

    Among the 13 lowest population states, the National Popular Vote bill has passed in 9 state legislative chambers, and been enacted by 5 jurisdictions.

    In Gallup polls since they started asking in 1944 until the 2016 election, only about 20% of the public supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states) (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided).

    Support for a national popular vote for President has been strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in every state surveyed. In the 41 red, blue, and purple states surveyed, overall support has been in the 67-81% range - in rural states, in small states, in Southern and border states, in big states, and in other states polled.

    Voter turnout is reduced as more voters realize their votes do not matter.

  • oldgulph VILLANOVA, PA
    April 25, 2019 1:43 p.m.

    Trump, November 13, 2016, on “60 Minutes”
    “ I would rather see it, where you went with simple votes. You know, you get 100 million votes, and somebody else gets 90 million votes, and you win. There’s a reason for doing this. Because it brings all the states into play.”

    Newt Gingrich said: “No one should become president of the United States without speaking to the needs and hopes of Americans in all 50 states. … America would be better served with a presidential election process that treated citizens across the country equally. The National Popular Vote bill accomplishes this in a manner consistent with the Constitution and with our fundamental democratic principles.”

    Of COURSE Clinton understood the Electoral College and ran to win it.

    Trump got more votes in CA than he got in AL, AR, LA, MS and WV combined.
    None of the votes in CA for Trump, helped Trump.

    CA Democratic votes in 2016 were 6.4% of the total national popular vote.

    The vote difference in CA wouldn't have put Clinton over the top in the popular vote total without the additional 61.5 million votes she received in other states.

    If you eliminate the votes cast in TX, she won the electoral vote.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 25, 2019 1:44 p.m.

    @Karen R. "...states that award their electoral votes on the basis of winner takes all silence the voices of millions."

    Their votes are counted in the choice of their state's electors.

  • oldgulph VILLANOVA, PA
    April 25, 2019 1:36 p.m.

    States have the responsibility and constitutional power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond. Now 38 states and their voters are politically irrelevant in presidential elections.

    The Founding Fathers left the choice of method for selecting presidential electors exclusively to the states by adopting the language contained in section 1 of Article II of the U.S. Constitution—

    "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . ."
    The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly characterized the authority of the state legislatures over the manner of awarding their electoral votes as "plenary" and "exclusive."

    The National Popular Vote bill is states with 270 electors replacing state winner-take-all laws that award all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who get the most popular votes in each separate state (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), in the enacting states, to guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes for, and the Presidency to, the candidate getting the most popular votes in the entire United States.

  • oldgulph VILLANOVA, PA
    April 25, 2019 1:32 p.m.

    With statewide winner-take-all laws, a presidential candidate could lose despite winning 78%+ of the popular vote and 39 smaller states.

    With the current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), it could only take winning a bare plurality of popular votes in only the 11 most populous states, containing 56% of the population of the United States, for a candidate to win the Presidency with less than 22% of the nation's votes!

    But the political reality is that the 11 largest states, with a majority of the U.S. population and electoral votes, rarely agree on any political candidate. In 2016, among the 11 largest states: 7 voted Republican(Texas, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia) and 4 voted Democratic (CA, NY, IL, and NJ). The big states are just about as closely divided as the rest of the country. For example, among the 4 largest states, the 2 largest Republican states (Texas and Florida) generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Bush, while the 2 largest Democratic states generated a total margin of 2.1 million votes for Kerry.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    April 25, 2019 12:01 p.m.

    To "Karen R" what about Congress and the Supreme Court? They have the same power to make decisions that effect everybody in the US.

    Do you know what a "Republic" is? Per the Constitution we are to maintain a Republican form of Government. That means that we don't directly elect the POTUS.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    April 25, 2019 11:54 a.m.

    Federalist No 68 makes a good point: "It was also peculiarly desirable to afford as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder....[A]s the electors, chosen in each State, are to assemble and vote in the State in which they are chosen, this detached and divided situation will expose them much less to heats and ferments, which might be communicated from them to the people, than if they were all to be convened at one time, in one place."

    It isolates controversies to individual states. For example, the Florida recounts of 2000 were able to be carried out in one state. Imagine such a recount being conducted on a nationwide basis. The potential for mischief would be too great.

  • Karen R. Houston, TX
    April 25, 2019 11:42 a.m.

    If the electoral college were the only means of representing state's rights, then the letter writer might have an argument, but it isn't even close. Each state has two senators and a state administration filled with people that can represent the state's interests on any subject and at any time.

    Meanwhile, POTUS is the only office with the power/reach to impact every American. yet states that award their electoral votes on the basis of winner takes all silence the voices of millions. I don't expect Trump loyalists to recognize the basic unfairness of this, but real Republicans will. They know it happens to them in blue states just like it happens to liberals in red states.

  • Count Rushmore Salt Lake City, UT
    April 25, 2019 11:34 a.m.

    "You seem to Assume Hillary Clinton wasn't "Shady". She was. Not as bad as Trump, but still shady."

    On this minor issue, I respectfully disagree. She was far worse than Trump, even without factoring in Bill.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 25, 2019 11:31 a.m.

    Esquire
    You put forward some interesting and cogent arguments. Not that I agree with all of them, but they are well expressed. Thank you.

    The states are not over-represented in the senate – each state has equal representation in the senate. Perhaps individual citizens of smaller states have more senatorial representation than others, but not the states themselves – the senate was designed to represent the states, not the individuals, so any perceived individual over representation is irrelevant.

    The office of president is not directly elected by the people, but their votes determine how their electors will vote.

    I believe states’ rights go beyond what you believe.

    Circumstances may have changed, but the EC is still filling a vital role.

    I would assert that in 2016 the EC DID prevent the election of someone who should not be president.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 25, 2019 9:49 a.m.

    @Mata Leao
    RE: "Great letter. All others, retake a Civics class"...
    ---
    This is the procedure defined in our Constitution. Maybe it's you who needs to retake basic civics. The Constitution is the foundation and framework. The Constitution defines the process, not whatever we want.

    The President and Vice President have never been elected by pure popular vote in America. The process is defined in our Constitution. Retake your civics class if it didn't teach you about the Constitution.

    ===

    @unrepentant progressive 7:12 a.m.
    RE: "States' rights do matter"...
    ---
    Nobody said "States' rights do matter". Just you speaking for others.

    This isn't a State's Rights issue. It's a Constitutional issue.

    ===

    RE: "Last time that was used as an excuse, it was for nefarious purpose"...
    ----
    In reality... Pretty sure the instance you are thinking of was not the "last time" States Rights was used.

    The States Rights concept is used all the time. But this is not a States Rights issue.

    "State's Rights" refers to the rights and powers held by individual US states rather than by the federal government in the Constitution. This isn't one of them. That's not what this is about.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    April 25, 2019 9:38 a.m.

    1. The states are already represented by population in the House, and small states are over represented in the Senate.

    2. The office of President is the only office that is elected by all the people. Why should the vote of someone in Wyoming be weighted more than someone in Ohio?

    3. States rights are subordinate to the interests of the national government. Lincoln and the Civil War settle that question. States rights are only relevant to the extent of the particular interests of a state. States rights make no sense when it comes to the office of President.

    4. The Electoral College was a compromise to deal with the particular interests of the 13 individual states at the time, including slavery. Those circumstances have changed and the EC makes no sense now.

    5. The EC is not exercising independent judgment as was originally intended. One point of it was to avoid the election of someone who should not be President. In 2016, everyone knew Trump was bad for America, but the EC was nothing but a rubber stamp of the political parties, which have no standing under the Constitution.

    The Electoral College should be abolished.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 25, 2019 9:13 a.m.

    @embarrassed Utahn
    RE: "We are now stuck with a “shady” (to put it mildly) president who has done indelible harm to our nation. That’s enough for me to favor abolishing the electoral college"...
    ---
    Do you Assume we haven't had shady president's before? We have, and we survived.

    Do you Assume if we didn't have the 12th Amendment we would never have a shady president again? I assure you we would. Probably even more shady.

    You seem to Assume Hillary Clinton wasn't "Shady". She was. Not as bad as Trump, but still shady.

    Getting rid of the 12th Amendment is not a guarantee we won't have shady candidates evermore. Or that shady candidates won't win. Just look at Congress... How many "Shady" characters there? Or local elections... some shady characters there too. And we don't have the Electoral College in Congressional or local elections.

    Getting rid of the 12th Amendment is not the solution. Having better candidates is the solution. Hillary Clinton was almost as shady as Trump.

    I didn't vote for him, but that doesn't mean I can't support him. He did win. He's the President now. It's kinda important for Americans to support the American President.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 25, 2019 8:55 a.m.

    Electoral College has worked for America for how many years now... And it needs to be abolished, just because Hillary Clinton lost?

    We are kinda obligated to do it that way until we get rid of the Constitution, or the Twelfth Amendment, which provides the procedure for electing the President and Vice President.

    I think there is some wisdom in the twelfth amendment. I think we should keep the Constitution and the 12th amendment, even if one party doesn't like it.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    April 25, 2019 8:54 a.m.

    I remember the 2000 election. In the lead up to the election, I remember that some people were mentioning how George W. Bush could win the popular vote, but lose the election.

    And people were asked what they thought. Every Democrat, when asked, said something to the effect of "That's how the rules are. If it happens, we expect him to accept the result and move on."

    If it had happened that way (instead of the exact opposite), and then again with Hillary over Trump, then the roles would be swapped today. Liberals would be defending the system as designed, and Republicans would be extolling the virtues of "one person, one vote."

    There's absolutely nothing about this issue that is inherently "better" for democracy. It's just the way we've set it up. (And frankly, we had to do it this way, or we weren't going to get the small states to ratify the US Constitution.)

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 25, 2019 8:51 a.m.

    Embarrassed
    Throw out CA and trump wins the popular vote.

    See, I can do a “what if?” too.

    The EC is doing just what it was intended to do, prevent the large states from running roughshod over smaller states.

    As was noted in an earlier thread, some profession sports championships are decided by who wins the most games, not by who scores the most points across all those games.

    As for a “shady” (to put it mildly) POTUS – he left office in January 2001 and has a marital connection to hilary.

    Tater
    No one’s vote is cancelled – everyone’s vote is important in deciding who their state’s electors support.

    The EC was not intended as a means to overcome lack of mass communication, as you assert, but to (I’ll repeat myself and everyone else with an understanding of how it works) keep larger states from dominating smaller states.

  • RedShirtMIT Cambridge, MA
    April 25, 2019 8:46 a.m.

    To "embarrassed Utahn!" and what is your point? The President is not determined by popular vote, but by the electoral college. Hillary's loss only shows that she didn't understand the rules of the vote. She went after the popular vote instead of going after the electoral college vote.

    As for the lies, 9,000 is a low number for a President. If you disagree, show us the study that uses the same standards on any other POTUS that has been used on Trump.

    To "ConservativeCommonTater" voting for the losing candidate doesn't mean that your vote doesn't count. It just means you chose the losing candidate. If you want to vote for the winning candidate, maybe you should vote for the person who is polling ahead in your area when you go and vote.

  • ConservativeCommonTater Salt Lake City, UT
    April 25, 2019 7:58 a.m.

    "However, even the Electoral College is “weighted” in favor of population, 435 versus 100. We do not need to abolish the Electoral College. States' rights do matter."

    Voting should be based on the number of people that vote one way or another. Cancelling their vote under the premise of "State's Rights" is as bad as Gerrymandering.

    The Electoral is an antiquated process from a period when there was no mass communications. We've long passed that problem.

    Get rid of the Electoral College, I'd like my vote to count for once.

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    April 25, 2019 7:56 a.m.

    Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes. We are now stuck with a “shady” (to put it mildly) president who has told over 9000 lies and has done indelible harm to our nation. That’s enough for me to favor abolishing the electoral college.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    April 25, 2019 7:43 a.m.

    Mr. Godfrey is absolutely correct.

  • Boberino Farmington, UT
    April 25, 2019 7:37 a.m.

    Well said!

  • Mata Leao Ogden, UT
    April 25, 2019 7:30 a.m.

    Great, very clear letter.
    Expect to get several "one person-one vote, every vote counts, modern times, etc" comments from folks who are still unhappy HC didn't win.

    Again, geat letter. All others, retake a Civics class.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    April 25, 2019 7:12 a.m.

    "States' rights do matter"

    Last time that was used as an excuse, it was for nefarious purpose.