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Evaluating the Electoral System

Jack Rakove’s “Electoral College: Here’s Hoping for Chaos on Tuesday” (Opinion, Oct. 31) was interesting; however, it offered a set of anti-electoral college arguments that are too arcane. Americans prefer simple discussions, so let’s make it simple.

In 2000, because of electoral votes, the ballots of only 537 Americans in Florida were worth more than the ballots of more than half a million Americans elsewhere. Do you want to retain a system that allows someone else’s vote to be worth in excess of 1,000 times more than your vote? Enough said.

Thomas E. Braun

Susanville, Calif.

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The electoral bedlam caused by the 2000 presidential election and what threatened to be a democratic disaster in this election have resulted in an increasing call to amend the Constitution either to modify the electoral system, from winner-take-all to proportionate electoral votes, or to eliminate the electoral college and go with a popular vote for president.

Something needs to be done to update our political system. Here’s a simple plan: Repeal the 12th Amendment electoral college. Amend the Constitution to establish secure voting networks connected to voters’ homes, hold nonpartisan elections and elect professional government managers instead of professional politicians, including the president. Truthfully informed voters would decide matters of public policy and taxation. I know what’s best for me, and I trust the collective judgment of my fellow citizens to decide what is best for all of us. That’s real democracy.

Daniel B. Jeffs

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Apple Valley

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Bush supporters may claim moral authority based on the popular vote; defenders of the electoral college point out that only rarely has the winner of the electoral college lost the popular vote. But since the strategies of the national campaigns are dictated by the electoral map, who’s to say that the popular vote totals would be the same if the campaign were truly democratic.

If the Kerry campaign had not had to devote so much of its resources to such states as Wisconsin and New Hampshire and could have focused instead on turning out the vote in such places as California, Illinois and New York, the vote total may well have been different. The popular vote, just like the electoral college, is not democracy; it only gives the illusion of being such.

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Mark McBride

Long Beach

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So much for hoping for chaos. Perhaps this means four years from now we will not see 50 articles decrying the electoral college while ignoring its benefits. And perhaps third-party voters will vote to support their cause, whether it be green or libertarian (or both), rather than chicken out and pointlessly vote for the lesser of two evils. I will be hoping, but I will not be holding my breath.

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Edward Bowers

Sherman Oaks

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Rakove’s article was right on. I have said the same thing for years. In many states about half the voters are disenfranchised every election because of the present “winner-take-all” electoral vote. We need to convert to a system in which the electoral votes are divided by the same percentage as the popular vote, even if it means we readjust the number of electoral votes needed to win.

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Bob Guarrera

Laguna Niguel


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