The Presidential Electoral College

Chouan

Honors Member
Unable to agree on any particular method for selecting presidential electors, the Founding Fathers left the choice of method exclusively to the states in Article II, Section 1:
“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 constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding a state's electoral votes.

The National Popular Vote bill ensures that every vote, in every state, will matter equally in every presidential election, while preserving the Electoral College and state control of elections.

The bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the "mob" in the current handful of closely divided battleground states, such as Ohio and Florida, while the "mobs" of the vast majority of states are ignored.

Analysts already conclude that only the 2016 party winner of Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa and New Hampshire is not a foregone conclusion. So, if the National Popular Vote bill is not in effect, less than a handful of states will continue to dominate and determine the presidential general election.

9 states determined the 2012 election.
10 of the original 13 states are politically irrelevant in presidential campaigns now. They aren’t polled or visited.
None of the 10 most rural states matter
24 of the 27 lowest population states, that are non-competitive are ignored, in presidential elections.
4 out of 5 Americans were ignored in the 2012 presidential election. After being nominated, Obama visited just eight closely divided battleground states, and Romney visited only 10. These 10 states accounted for 98% of the $940 million spent on campaign advertising.
Candidates do not bother to advertise or organize in 80% of the states.

Over the last few decades, presidential election outcomes within the majority of states have become more and more predictable. Only ten states were considered competitive in the 2012 election.

From 1992- 2012
13 states (with 102 electoral votes) voted Republican every time
19 states (with 242) voted Democratic every time

If this pattern continues, and the National Popular Vote bill does not go into effect,
Democrats only would need a mere 28 electoral votes from other states.
If Republicans lose Florida (29), they would lose.

Population shifts have converted states that were once solidly Republican into closely divided “battleground” states.

There do not appear to be any Democratic states making the transition to voting Republican in presidential races.

Some states have not been been competitive for more than a half-century and most states now have a degree of partisan imbalance that makes them highly unlikely to be in a swing state position.

· 41 States Won by Same Party, 2000-2012
· 32 States Won by Same Party, 1992-2012
· 13 States Won Only by Republican Party, 1980-2012
· 19 States Won Only by Democratic Party, 1992-2012
· 7 Democratic States Not Swing State since 1988
· 16 GOP States Not Swing State since 1988

There have been 22,991 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome.
The electors are and will be dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state laws guaranteeing faithful voting by presidential electors (because the states have plenary power over presidential electors).

Thanks for this. some really interesting, and useful, statistics.
 

Tiger

Elite Member
I believe that posting excessively long and duplicative posts doesn't answer my objections to the National Popular Vote scheme.

Again, the plan eviscerates the concept of States choosing electors for the purpose of then choosing a chief executive; additionally, it destroys the power of the States and makes the process akin to a national referendum - decidedly not what the Framers and Ratifiers wanted!

The current adaptation of the electoral process is certainly flawed, but the correction must emanate from the States returning to the original concept. Any new ideas would require a constitutional amendment...
 

Tiger

Elite Member
Clarity? This system seems entirely predicted upon obfuscation. Whilst we are on the subject- Federal Reserve, legal or not?

Not obfuscatory at all, once we understand what was created, and why. (Albeit more difficult for someone from outside of the United States.)

I believe the FRB is a central bank, and as such no power exists in the U.S. Constitution to create one. This is a Jeffersonian position; Hamiltonians will invariably (and incorrectly!) disagree...
 

oldgulph

Starting Member
I believe that posting excessively long and duplicative posts doesn't answer my objections to the National Popular Vote scheme.

Again, the plan eviscerates the concept of States choosing electors for the purpose of then choosing a chief executive; additionally, it destroys the power of the States and makes the process akin to a national referendum - decidedly not what the Framers and Ratifiers wanted!

The current adaptation of the electoral process is certainly flawed, but the correction must emanate from the States returning to the original concept. Any new ideas would require a constitutional amendment...

National Popular Vote changes nothing in the Constitution. Article II, Section 1 gives the states exclusive control over awarding their electoral votes: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”

The bottom line is that there is nothing in Article II (or elsewhere in the Constitution) that prevents states from making the decision now that winning the national popular vote is required to win the presidency.

The founders did not intend that women, black people, and native Americans vote.
Most of the founders intended that only white men with money could vote.

In the nation’s first presidential election in 1789 and second election in1792, the states, by enacting state laws, employed a wide variety of methods for choosing presidentialelectors, including
● appointment of the state’s presidential electors by theGovernor and his Council,
● appointment by both houses of the state legislature,
● popular election using special single-memberpresidential-elector districts,
● popular election using counties as presidential-electordistricts,
● popular election using congressional districts,
● popular election using multi-member regional districts,
● combinations of popular election and legislative choice,
● appointment of the state’s presidential electors by theGovernor and his Council combined with the state legislature, and
● statewide popular election.

As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all method is used by 48 of the 50 states. States can, and have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years. Maine and Nebraska do not use the winner-take-all method

States have the responsibility and power to make all of their voters relevant in every presidential election and beyond.


With the Electoral College and federalism, the Founding Fathers meant to empower the states to pursue their own interests within the confines of the Constitution. National Popular Vote is an exercise of that power, not an attack upon it.

Federalism concerns the allocation of power between state governments and the national government. The National Popular Vote bill concerns how votes are tallied, not how much power state governments possess relative to the national government. The powers of state governments are neither increased nor decreased based on whether presidential electors are selected along the state boundary lines, or national lines (as with the National Popular Vote).

In 2012, 38 small, medium, and large states were politically irrelevant. Presidential candidates have no reason to pay attention to the issues of concern to voters in states where the statewide outcome is a foregone conclusion.

National Popular Vote has nothing to do with pure democracy or referendum.
Pure democracy is a form of government in which people vote on all policy initiatives directly.
With National Popular Vote, the United States would still be a republic, in which citizens continue to elect the President by a majority of Electoral College votes by states, to represent us and conduct the business of government.

By state laws, without changing anything in the Constitution, the National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the majority of Electoral College votes, and thus the presidency, to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country, by replacing state winner-take-all laws for awarding electoral votes in the enacting states.

“The bottom line is that the electors from those states who cast their ballot for the nationwide vote winner are completely accountable (to the extent that independent agents are ever accountable to anyone) to the people of those states. . . . There is nothing in Article II (or elsewhere in the Constitution) that prevents them from making the decision that, in the Twenty-First Century, national voter popularity is a (or perhaps the) crucial factor in worthiness for the office of the President.”
- Vikram David Amar - professor and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the UC Davis School of Law. Before becoming a professor, he clerked for Judge William A. Norris of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice Harry Blackmun at the Supreme Court of the United States.
 

Tiger

Elite Member
Oldgulph once again posts organizational propaganda disguised as personal opinion. However, he still has yet to answer my objection(s) - partially quoting from Article II Section One but ignoring the balance of it is deceptive. I trust those of us without an agenda will be able to read the entire passage and understand that the role of electors was something much more than oldgulph wants us to believe.

Note: The Constitution does not determine voting qualifications; States do. Oldgulph's argument there is thus moot.

Electors are supposed to volitionally vote for a candidate, not simply be forced to rubber stamp a candidate who wins the popular vote. States are to choose electors (in a manner they so choose) so that those electors can make a knowledgeable (and actual!) choice. States do not choose how the electors vote! Again, if you disagree with the intent and mechanism of those who framed but especially those who ratified the Constitution (explained briefly earlier), you are free to lead a movement to amend Article II Section One.

The idea that the American people - the vast majority of whom don't follow or understand history, politics, current events, and the issues facing the United States - should wield such political power is absurd. Heck, most don't even know the names of their two U.S. Senators, yet oldgulph wants them making such an important choice. The desire to have the popular vote determine presidential elections has become a mantra of almost religious proportions, but it was a terrible idea in the latter part of the 18th century, and it still is.

I wonder, would oldgulph want an uneducated person performing surgery on him? A fast food worker repairing his car engine? A bartender flying an airliner on which he was a passenger?

Please, stop posting the same propaganda repeatedly. It is certainly permissible to have an original thought...
 
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oldgulph

Starting Member
Oldgulph once again posts organizational propaganda disguised as personal opinion. However, he still has yet to answer my objection(s) - partially quoting from Article II Section One but ignoring the balance of it is deceptive. I trust those of us without an agenda will be able to read the entire passage and understand that the role of electors was something much more than oldgulph wants us to believe.

Note: The Constitution does not determine voting qualifications; States do. Oldgulph's argument there is thus moot.

Electors are supposed to volitionally vote for a candidate, not simply be forced to rubber stamp a candidate who wins the popular vote. States are to choose electors (in a manner they so choose) so that those electors can make a knowledgeable (and actual!) choice. States do not choose how the electors vote! Again, if you disagree with the intent and mechanism of those who framed but especially those who ratified the Constitution (explained briefly earlier), you are free to lead a movement to amend Article II Section One.

The idea that the American people - the vast majority of whom don't follow or understand history, politics, current events, and the issues facing the United States - should wield such political power is absurd. Heck, most don't even know the names of their two U.S. Senators, yet oldgulph wants them making such an important choice. The desire to have the popular vote determine presidential elections has become a mantra of almost religious proportions, but it was a terrible idea in the latter part of the 18th century, and it still is.

I wonder, would oldgulph want an uneducated person performing surgery on him? A fast food worker repairing his car engine? A bartender flying an airliner on which he was a passenger?

Please, stop posting the same propaganda repeatedly. It is certainly permissible to have an original thought...

The Constitution does not determine voting qualifications; States do.
And with National Popular Vote the role of the states in presidential elections does not differ from the Constitution in any way.

The intent and mechanism of those who framed but especially those who ratified the Constitution is in Article II, Section 1:
“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 Constitution does not prohibit any of the methods that were debated and rejected. Indeed, a majority of the states appointed their presidential electors using two of the rejected methods in the nation's first presidential election in 1789 (i.e., appointment by the legislature and by the governor and his cabinet). Presidential electors were appointed by state legislatures for almost a century.
Neither of the two most important features of the current system of electing the President (namely, universal suffrage, and the 48 state-by-state winner-take-all method) are in the U.S. Constitution. Neither was the choice of the Founders when they went back to their states to organize the nation's first presidential election.

In 1789, in the nation's first election, the people had no vote for President in most states, only men who owned a substantial amount of property could vote, and only three states used the state-by-state winner-take-all method to award electoral votes.

The Founders had been dead for decades, after the states adopted winner-take-all, one-by-one, in order to maximize the power of the party in power in each state.
The constitutional wording does not encourage, discourage, require, or prohibit the use of any particular method for awarding a state's electoral votes.

As a result of changes in state laws enacted since 1789, the people have the right to vote for presidential electors in 100% of the states, there are no property requirements for voting in any state, and the state-by-state winner-take-all method is used by 48 of the 50 states. States can, and have, changed their method of awarding electoral votes over the years.

Now, electors are dedicated party activists, chosen for their loyalty to their party's candidate.
State laws do determine which electors will vote, and how the electors vote!

● Each political party in each state nominates a slate of candidates for the position of presidential elector. This is most commonly done at the party’s congressional-district conventions and the party’s state convention during the summer or early fall. It is sometimes done in a primary.
● Typically, each political party chair certifies to the state’s chief election official the names of the party’s candidate for President and Vice President and the names of the party’s candidates for presidential elector.
● Under the “short presidential ballot” (now used in all states), the names of the party’s nominee for President and Vice President appear on the ballot.
● When a voter casts a vote for a party’s presidential and vice-presidential slate on Election Day (the Tuesday after the first Monday in November), that vote is deemed to be a vote for all of that party’s candidates for presidential elector.
● Under the “winner-take-all” rule used in 48 states, the presidential-elector candidates who receive the most popular votes statewide are elected. In Maine and Nebraska, the candidate for the position of presidential elector who receives the most popular votes in each congressional district is elected (with the two remaining electors being based on the statewide popular vote).
● Each state’s winning presidential electors travel to their State Capitol on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December to cast their votes for President and Vice President.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld state laws guaranteeing faithful voting by presidential electors (because the states have plenary power over presidential electors).

Electors not voting according to state law has not been an issue.
There have been 22,991 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 17 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector's own political party. 1796 remains the only instance when the elector might have thought, at the time he voted, that his vote might affect the national outcome.
The electors are and will be dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

The bottom line is that there is nothing in Article II (or elsewhere in the Constitution) that prevents states from making the decision now that winning the national popular vote is required to win the presidency.

The National Popular Vote bill preserves theElectoral College and state control of elections. It again changes the way electoral votes areawarded in the Electoral College. Thecandidate with the most votes would win, as in virtually every other electionin the country.
 

Tiger

Elite Member
Another robotic propagandistic response, and no longer worth contributing to this thread...
 
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Shaver

Suspended
Not obfuscatory at all, once we understand what was created, and why. (Albeit more difficult for someone from outside of the United States.)

I believe the FRB is a central bank, and as such no power exists in the U.S. Constitution to create one. This is a Jeffersonian position; Hamiltonians will invariably (and incorrectly!) disagree...

Hmm.... I have little patience for a system which lacks sufficient elegance to be described in terms which do not require endlessly recursive clauses, sub-clauses and the whatnot, such text being the preferred territory of the slithering men (politicians, lawyers, bankers and so on) who may be relied upon for just one thing (and that objective never being the interests of those that they allege to represent).

Oh, and, FRB is illegal then?
 

Tiger

Elite Member
Hmm.... I have little patience for a system which lacks sufficient elegance to be described in terms which do not require endlessly recursive clauses, sub-clauses and the whatnot, such text being the preferred territory of the slithering men (politicians, lawyers, bankers and so on) who may be relied upon for just one thing (and that objective never being the interests of those that they allege to represent).

I agree with your instincts, my friend, but I do not think that the electoral system as specified in Article II Section One of the U.S. Constitution is byzantine at all...
 

SG_67

Connoisseur
Hmm.... I have little patience for a system which lacks sufficient elegance to be described in terms which do not require endlessly recursive clauses, sub-clauses and the whatnot, such text being the preferred territory of the slithering men (politicians, lawyers, bankers and so on) who may be relied upon for just one thing (and that objective never being the interests of those that they allege to represent).

Oh, and, FRB is illegal then?

Hmmm...elegant like the British written constitution? ;-)
 

Shaver

Suspended
Now, now. There's no need to be defensive. ;)

At least, however, we enjoy a broad common consensus as to what our (uncodified) constitution actually means in application.



Hmmm...elegant like the British written constitution? ;-)
 
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Concordia

Elite Member
The system was designed to avoid "popular" elections. The President was to be elected by the States, not the people. And it was left up to the States to decide how the votes allocated to the States were devised. The Founding Fathers feared popular elections, democracy, more than anything except royalty because they believed that the end of democracy was always tyranny. Likewise, Senators were supposed to be elected by the representative governments of the States, not directly by the people of the states. The trick was to give the power to the people, but to temper that power and keep it "arm's length" from democracy, or mobocracy, through a hierarchy of representative filters.
Interesting smoking-out of partisan politics here! (Not the above...)

Note that royalty per se was not a universal concern. There was a fairly large sector of revolutionary patriots who wouldn't have minded a stronger king-- in order that Parliament could be kept in its place and stop stepping on the various colonial assemblies as they negotiated with the Crown. They didn't get anywhere before 1776, as even King George thought that was a nutty idea. But it included quite a lot of important figures, many of whom became Federalists later on. It was the Jeffersonian faction, by and large, that thought the monarchy was the source of all corruption in res publica. See Eric Nelson's "Royalist Revolution" for more color. In his view, the anti-democratic character of the Constitution was not so much a pushing back against the values of the revolution, but a revival of the portion of it that wanted a stronger executive who could check and balance Congress's powers.

As for the anti-Federalist arguments, you have to remember that the Constitution was written very largely by Federalists--i.e., people who wanted a different (generally stronger) government of a more unified nation. The Federalist papers aren't perfect representations of intent, written as they were by a few men after the fact to persuade voters, but they're still useful in that way. While anti-Federalist arguments may be valid and were often widespread, they were almost by definition not reflective of what the Constitution's authors had in mind. [Some of their concerns, of course, did get get soothed by the Bill or Rights, however.]

As an addendum, Senate elections were changed to direct popular votes only in 1913, by the 17th Amendment.
 
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