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Unread 2019-01-12, 12:08   #1
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Feb 5 2003
83,843 posts
Age 63
Somewhere on this ball we call "Earth"

"How to do so? It is the states that have the power to restore the Electoral College to its original intent—and to ensure that it better represents the will of the American people. To do so, they must commit themselves to this majority-rule principle: No candidate receives all of a state’s electoral votes unless the candidate gets a majority of the state’s popular votes.

There are many methods states can use to comply with this principle. They could have a regular runoff between the top-two candidates, held in late November, if no candidate received a majority in the initial popular vote. Alternatively, states could hold a preliminary vote—perhaps on the Tuesday after Labor Day—to clear the field of third-party and independent candidates, so that only the top two finalists appear on the November ballot. (This option would function similarly to the “top two” system that California and Washington state currently use for nonpresidential elections.) Or, states could adopt the kind of “instant runoff voting” procedure that Maine recently employed successfully for its congressional elections: Voters can rank their preferences among multiple candidates, so that a computer can tally which of the top two finalists receives a majority once all lower-ranked candidates are eliminated.

Another idea: A state could award all of its electoral votes to a candidate who receives a majority of the state’s popular vote, but if no candidate does, then the state would apportion its electoral votes among the candidates. For example, in the instance of a 38-37-25 percent split among three candidates in a state’s popular vote, a state with 10 electoral votes might split them 4-4-2. Obviously, the state would need a rounding formula, given the impossibility of fractional votes in the Electoral College, but computers easily can handle these calculations. Or a state could, instead, dispense with winner-take-all entirely, choosing to apportion its electoral votes even if there is a majority winner of the state’s popular vote. Finally, states could also adopt the kind of district-based system that Maine and Nebraska currently have, where each congressional district votes for an elector (and two at-large electors are chosen in statewide votes), though doing so runs the risk of gerrymandering in presidential elections.

The 12th Amendment left in place the power of states to appoint their electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,” consistent with the Jeffersonians’ commitment to federalism. What this means, as a practical matter, is that each state can embrace Jeffersonian majority rule by means of either ordinary legislation or a ballot initiative (in those states that permit them)—as long as a ballot initiative lets the state’s legislature choose the particular method of securing Jeffersonian majority rule. The force of inertia is strong, to be sure. But overcoming lack of political will is easier than passing a constitutional amendment. Just as citizens have been able to achieve gerrymandering reform on their own initiative, as in Michigan, so too they can achieve this Electoral College reform." (More)
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