Tuesday, August 17, 2004

A new political web site...Daily KOS

Daily Kos (is a website I found courtesy of Air America, Online!) has posted this very interesting article from the LA times. The article is about Colorado and their recent decision to have a ballot intiative that would immediately split the states electorial vote based on the popular vote, Rather than by a winner-take-all...

Here's what this means to you and me: Gore would have won!

Quote: (from the LA Times)

"If the proposal had been in place four years ago, Democrat Al Gore would have earned enough electoral votes to go to the White House...

Only two other states do not have winner-take-all systems of casting electoral college votes. Nebraska and Maine give two votes to the winner of each state, and
remaining votes are cast to show who won each congressional district.

Republican Gov. Bill Owens and Republican State Party Chairman Ted
Halaby have criticized the Colorado proposal, saying it would lessen the state's
clout in presidential elections. They warn that candidates will ignore the state
and its nine electoral votes if the measure passes.

Julie Brown, campaign director for the Make Your Vote Count effort that supports the measure,dismissed their concerns. 'It begs the question on which is more important -- a two-hour presidential stop at a tarmac at Denver International Airport or true representation by the voters.'

Katy Atkinson, a spokeswoman for the opposing Coloradans Against a Really Stupid Idea, promised to challenge the measure if it passes and it is applied in this year's presidential race.

The proposal's backers want it to take effect immediately, before Colorado's electoral votes are cast in December. 'They are ripe for a court challenge on this,' Atkinson said. 'If this is a close race like the one four years ago, we could be thrown into a situation where we are the Florida of 2004. We'd be the laughing stock of the country. All those Florida jokes would be applied to Colorado.' "

Now this brings up a particularly interesting discussion because we are taking what is an already convoluted system and adding an additional layer of confusion/dilution. The argument goes thus: by splitting a states electoral votes, you actually create more dissention by allowing the states electorial vote to be swayed by popular opinion.

The oposite opinion is of course that it is a better representation of the actual popular vote and hence should be put into place than then current Electoral Voting system that we have now.

However after some remeidal investigation I came across this bit of information regarding the electorial college and it's usefuleness in regards to democratic protection. (Its a dense article which goes into the historical and mathematicall properties of the electoral college...its a good read.)

Electors were supposed to consider each candidate’s merits more judiciously, not
blindly follow the popular will. Nowadays, of course, whoever wins the popular
vote in any state wins all the electoral votes in that state automatically... We no longer need human bodies to cast electoral ballots, [Alan] Natapoff [PHd.] says. That part of the system is indeed archaic. But it has worked beautifully, he insists, as a formula for converting one large national contest into 51 smaller elections in which individual voters have more clout. The Madisonian system, by requiring
candidates to win states on the way to winning the nation, has forced majorities
to win the consent of minorities, checked the violence of factions, and held the
country together

All in all - its a good discussion... the a gist is distilled to in a national election where we KNOW that it's going to be a close race...(e.g. 2000) then a direct vote would be best. However because we can't predict the future and the probablity that MY (or Your) vote would be the deciding vote is so miniscule ( say less than .00000002 %) in a direct vote; then we in fact have more power in an electoral college (or voting district.) Makes sense right?

Sorta...but then I start scratching my head and begin to think then how in the hell did 2000 happen?

I'm apt to believe that if it were an issue of a Blue state Versus a Red state... I'm not sure I'm all in for a purple state of being. Although my Frito-lay and Cheetos stock would make me an instant millionare.


rrsingh said...

DailyKos rocks. Billmon.org is amazing w/out comments.

kizzy said...

Its always interesting when I find this stuff...because I always am amazed at the breadth of the liberal - minded stuff that is out there.

Sometimes I do feel alone in this great big puddle of info.