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Letter: Electoral College is needed to help small states be as important as larger states

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  • Roland Kayser Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 12:13 a.m.

    Right now they're only campaigning in nine states. The other states, large or small, are irrelevant.

    I have a prediction though: If Romney wins the popular vote while losing the electoral college, everyone will reverse their position on the issue.

  • Emajor Ogden, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 12:53 a.m.

    I'm dense, so maybe that's why I'm not following your reasoning here. What on earth makes you think that everyone in those 10 states is going to vote for the same candidate?

    Since electoral votes are apportioned according to a state's number of congressmen (itself a rough measure of a state's population), your argument makes little sense. The small states still have very little voice. Why do you think they're obsessed with Ohio? A swing state with a large number of electoral votes. And anyone voting against popular opinion in a state like Utah or California is essentially chucking their vote in the dumpster. I'd frankly like to see the electoral college go away.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 31, 2012 6:01 a.m.

    Not really sure that you made a good case.

    Electorally, if a candidate wins the states you mention, they have a virtual lock anyway. (256 of the 270 electoral votes needed)

    And in those states, with a total population of 167 mil (your numbers) you could lock up all of those electoral college votes with under 70 million votes.

    So, the EC does not change your concern that a candidate can campaign in only 10 states.

    The way for a state to be "relevant" is to be fairly evenly split so that candidates need your vote. Utah is irrelevant in any presidential election (as are many other states), except for the money donated to the national campaign.

    There is a very real possibility this year that Obama wins the presidency and loses the popular vote. That will send the right into a froth.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 6:52 a.m.

    For all practical purposes, the candidates are already campaigning in less than 10 states. But we should be grateful that we are not among the competitive battleground states, and don't have to endure the barrage of campaign ads that inundate Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Virginia, etc. It's bad enough here already. Thank goodness it will be over in a week.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    Utah does get more voice as a result of the electoral college than it would get otherwise. In my mind this is good enough reason to keep it.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 6:54 a.m.

    Whatever happened to the idea of one man one vote?

    "The total population of these states equals 166,755,220 which is above the requisite 51 percent needed.

    A candidate would only have to campaign in these 10 states and they'd have won the election. That is the genius behind our system."

    This argument only works if every person in each of these 10 states voted for the same person. Traditionally California and Texas have very different political views.

    Contrast this with today where only a handful of states are evening being campaigned...the "Battle ground" States.

    I would like very much for my vote to count as much as a vote in Ohio, but when 70% of the State votes one way, does it really matter for whom I voted, be it Romney, Obama or my next door neighbor since the entire State will be counted as "Romney"?? Under the popular vote it would matter.

  • isrred South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 7:00 a.m.

    Actually, the small states matter very little in the current system. I voted for Obama, but could you imagine how much more the votes for Mitt Romney in Utah would matter if we were on a popular vote system? Romney is going to win Utah so whether he wins by 1 vote or 1million votes the payoff is still the same. If it was a popular vote election they would have the incentive to get EVERY single vote they possibly could from places like Utah.

  • a bit of reality Shawnee Mission, KS
    Oct. 31, 2012 8:03 a.m.

    According to the federalist papers, the purpose of the electoral college isn't to "give the small states a chance." The purpose is to allow a small group of wise leaders to choose the president, because the judgment of the population as a whole can't be trusted to choose the right guy.

  • John Marx Layton, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 8:19 a.m.

    "A candidate would only have to campaign in these 10 states and they'd have won the election." As has already been pointed out, the candidates are only campaigning in a handful of states already as a result of the electoral college. It's completely arbitrary. It's just states whose populations happen to be divided about 50/50 between democrats and republicans. These states who happen to be swing states have undue influence over the country's politics. They don't deserve the influence because of a demographic quirk.
    How does the electoral college help a small state like Utah? They know which way we're going to vote. Spending any time here is a complete waste. If it were a popular vote, at least they could come here in the hopes that they could pick up a few votes.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Oct. 31, 2012 8:28 a.m.

    I have been a long time supporter of the electoral college because of the small state vs large state idea. At one time that was a great idea.

    But times have changed and I support getting rid of the electoral college. At this point in time, a voter in Ohio has way more clout than a voter in Texas or Utah. If we get rid of the electoral college, then the candidates have to campaign to everyone. They won't saturate Ohio voters and they can't pander to groups like seniors in Florida. They have to go out to everyone.

  • Darrel Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 8:34 a.m.

    @a bit of reality

    "According to the federalist papers, the purpose of the electoral college isn't to "give the small states a chance." The purpose is to allow a small group of wise leaders to choose the president, because the judgment of the population as a whole can't be trusted to choose the right guy."

    ===============
    Absolutely! However with nearly every State (if not every state) having laws that guarantee their electors to the winner of the State, its purpose has been defeated.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 31, 2012 8:55 a.m.

    Each STATE chooses the person that that STATE wants as its representative to the world. We, the people, are represented, not by the President, but by our Representatives in the House. Senators represent the State in Congress.

    We don't elect the President by popular vote because the President does not represent the people directly.

    When people don't understand the fundamental operation of government, they demand from government things that government is prohibited from giving. One of those things is representation by the President.

    His duty is to protect our country against enemies, foreign and domestic. We benefit indirectly from that protection. Our city police departments, not the Presdient, are charged with protecting the people.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    Oct. 31, 2012 9:07 a.m.

    Mike,

    I suspect that if Obama wins the presidency and Romney wins the popular vote, you and Rifleman will be the first to scream that we need to do away with the Electoral College.

    Just a hunch.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 9:21 a.m.

    It MIGHT help if each state was required to divide its electoral votes according to the percentages of its popular vote. Some states do that. Most RED states do not.

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 9:22 a.m.

    Why does anyone care if States are equal? People need to be equal. And for the record, the relevancy of the system has been an issue since well before 2000. I remember discussing it in high school civics - in 1971.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 10:00 a.m.

    More to the point, getting rid of the Electoral College would require a constitutional amendment. The Constitution is very hard to amend. And there are more than 12 small states. Which means, there will never be a change to the Electoral College.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 10:00 a.m.

    While I can appreciate the intent of the letter --
    [because I live in a Totalitarian state, and my vote NEVER matters]

    I watched Al Gore clearly win the popular vote, and GWBush win the Electoral by a hanging chad.
    And then watched from the side-lines in horror as Bush/Cheney spent the next 8 years trashing America.

    Agreed --
    The GOP right-winger will go ballistic if/when Karma comes around this time.

    Like I said 12 years ago -
    Becare for what you wish for, you just might get it.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 31, 2012 10:04 a.m.

    @JoeBlow,

    I do not stomp on the Constitution. The Constitution lists the way that a President is elected. The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. If enough electors choose Obama, then God help us; but, the law is the law.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 10:34 a.m.

    Contrary to the wishes of the conservative element, we live in today’s world and not in the world of 200 years ago. Our lives, our world is different today than the world of 200 years ago. All the foot-dragging, fairy tales, phony patriotism and ignorance will not change the fact.

    We are all Americans and every American citizen is closer and more aware of the national government than were the citizens of the various states to their state government 200 years ago.

    In today’s world, state governments are obsolete. There is nothing that the state government does for citizens that could not be done better and cheaper by the national government. And because the state governments are generally owned and controlled by private interests the services provided are tainted against the citizens. The main reason that government costs so much is that we have too many governments.

    The state representatives do not represent the people. The only chance for representation of people in the national is with the election of the president. The president should be elected by popular vote of all the American people.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 11:02 a.m.

    "Whatever happened to the idea of one man one vote?

    Simple, it never was part of our nation. We don't live in a Democracy but a Compound Constitutional Republic. That means, that elections are not dependent upon individual votes.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 11:11 a.m.

    This letter is goofy on several levels. First, it doesn't matter what the total population of each state is. The more relevant figure is population 18 and over (those who can actually vote, if they are registered).

    Second, the percentage of those who vote is a lot lower than the total population of those 18 and over.

    Third, how is any candidate going to get 100 percent of the vote in the top 10 most populated states? Totally unrealistic scenario.

    Fourth, delegates to the electoral college are apportioned roughly based on population.

    So, what does any of the stuff mentioned in this letter have to do with the question being posed?

  • Grundle West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 11:28 a.m.

    Re:One old man

    Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that divide their electoral votes based on the vote in congressional districts. One red state and one blue state.

    So...I commend you on your accurate statement "Most RED states do not."

    I would also add to your comments...Most BLUE states do not.

    There...all better now.

  • Grundle West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 11:33 a.m.

    Re:Ultra Bob

    I thought your comments were brilliant. You summed up in two succinct paragraphs exactly why we are on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

    "In today’s world, state governments are obsolete. There is nothing that the state government does for citizens that could not be done better and cheaper by the national government. And because the state governments are generally owned and controlled by private interests the services provided are tainted against the citizens. The main reason that government costs so much is that we have too many governments.

    The state representatives do not represent the people. The only chance for representation of people in the national is with the election of the president. The president should be elected by popular vote of all the American people."

    I could not disagree with you more!

    Thank you for posting!

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 11:53 a.m.

    Grundle, I stand corrected. Sorry.

    I was quoting an item from an old Fox News story.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 12:42 p.m.

    The only change to the Electorial College that I'd be in favor of would be to apportion the Electors based on a percentage of the vote up to a certain point. If a candidate won 80 % or more of the vote in a state, they keep all the electorial votes. So if Mitt wins Utah by 80% he'd keep all the votes. In Kalifornia if he lost 55% to 45%, he'd get 45% of the electors. It would make the elections far more interesting. And, candidates would have to spend time in each state instead of 10.

    It would take a constitutional amendment to accomplish this. Unless of course Obama makes a presidential edict like he's fond of doing.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 1:32 p.m.

    Grundle.

    Actually, I was hoping for some details.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 2:37 p.m.

    Some small states are important. New Hampshire, Nevada, Iowa. Those matter. Others like Vermont, Hawaii, Idaho, Utah... they don't matter under the electoral college and would matter more with a popular vote since a Romney or Obama would suddenly have to care about getting turnout in Provo or Salt Lake City.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 3:36 p.m.

    LDS Lib,
    why not move to CA, OR, WA, MA, NY, NY, NJ, IL, DE, CT, VT, etc? Oh, that's right, you'd still be in what you define as a totalitarian state

    old man,
    no, you were not quoting from Fox, unless you were watching MSNBC misquote Fox.

    Under a popular vote scenario, only those states with large populations would attract the attention of the campaigns. Utah would still see nothing, which is not really a bad thing.

    I recently spent three weeks in Virginia - we should be glad we don't live in a battleground state.

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 3:50 p.m.

    We are voting for the President of the United STATES, not the President of the PEOPLE. The role of Federal Government is limited to a few specific, enumerated things that can be best handled at their level such as defense and commerce. By faithfully executing their duties, they establish a secure environment and framework under which the states operate. The states are then unencumbered by those federal issues and can effectively address the needs of the citizens of their states such as welfare and education.

    Since the President is supposed to be leading the collective states (not individual states and not individuals), the electoral college makes perfect sense.

    Unfortunately, too many pseudo-philosophers of political science think they are somehow smarter than those who framed the Constitution (who just happen to be the most impressive group of political experts in the history of the world - Thomas Jefferson's absence withstanding).

    There are also practical problems with popular vote election. Just one example: The last few elections have been very close. Imagine a national recount. We saw how expensive and controversial it was in Florida in 2000. Multiply that by 50 times.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 4:31 p.m.

    However, you cannot get rid of the electoral college until you have the same rules for every single state regarding things like photo IDs, early voting hours, etc.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 4:38 p.m.

    Joe5.

    You said “We are voting for the President of the United STATES, not the President of the PEOPLE.”

    If that is so, why do we go to all the bother of campaigns and allowing people to vote in the presidential election?

  • joe5 South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 4:44 p.m.

    UltraBob: A state is the composite of its people.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 5:42 p.m.

    Do states vote, or do people?

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 6:31 p.m.

    I understand the rationale(s) for the Electoral College and some have great merits (stability, preventing a minority from taking power through forcing a two-party system). And it might have made sense in its day. But our Founding Fathers were also smart about making the Constitution pliable enough if necessary to make changes. The Electoral College needs to be changed. What now has happened is that only a small handful of "swing" states get any attention. I know detractors of change will point to the fact that only large city centers would get attention, but that is happening now in sense with only 10-11 of the 50 states getting attention at all. Have you heard of any of the candidates spending time outside of these swing states in the last two months. The rest of the states are ignored completely. Perhaps a proportional Electoral College like they use in Maine and Nebraska may be something to look at. It would force the candidates to look past the swing states because more Congressional Districts would be in play then just 11 states.

  • Utah Dem Ogden, UT
    Oct. 31, 2012 7:09 p.m.

    Mr Lineback - according to your thinking a candidate would need 51% of the votes of the total population but the total population is not eligible to vote only US citizens that are at least 18 years of age and are registered as voters. So it would take more than the 10 most populated states.

    BTW, your letter still doesn't present a good argument for keeping the electoral college.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 31, 2012 7:10 p.m.

    The malarkey about "swing states" is just that - malarkey. The people in those states are entitled to the same representation in the electoral college as you and I. They get one elector for each member of congress that represent them or their state in Congress.

    Just because the "news media" have tried to convince us that some votes are more important than others does not make it so. Just because the media misrepresented "polls" to show that Obama was in the lead - when he was not - did nothing but show their collusion.

    Each STATE gets one elector for each member of Congress. The States are free to choose their electors.

    That's the way it works, no matter what detractors tell us.

  • CC Saint George, UT
    Nov. 1, 2012 9:26 a.m.

    Our Founders shielded government away from the passions of the people. The only people we originally elected directly were members of the House of Representatives. An amendment has since allowed us to vote directly for our Senators. In my opinion the EC should either be tweaked or done away with altogether. The EC could be changed to reflect the popular voting within congressional districts. For example, Utah has four congressional districts = to four of our electoral votes. The popular vote could be tallied within each district, with the electoral vote going to the winner in that district. The overall popular vote in the state could then be given our additional two votes = to our senators. I don't think our current system encourages those who understand the EC to participate in voting. Living in Utah, I'm not sure my vote would really matter either way...It is already decided. I will however cast my vote!