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How to abolish the electoral college without amending the Constitution

How to abolish the electoral college without amending the Constitution
Protesters demonstrate ahead of Pennsylvania's 58th electoral college at the state Capitol in Harrisburg in December 2016. (Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

To the editor: Abolishing the electoral college is not an issue as flippant as flag burning, as Michael Kinsley implies, and it is well worth our time.

If the idea is akin to opening a Pandora’s box, here are some of the “awful” consequences I foresee: increased voter participation and an understanding that everyone’s vote is equal to another. A vote in Wyoming would no longer be worth exponentially more than one in California. There would still be attention on smaller states and rural issues during the primaries. Finally, a president would be elected by the majority vote of the people — how terrifying!

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Amending the Constitution is not the only way to fix this. Right now, 11 states and the District of Columbia are signed on to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which awards states’ electoral votes to the candidate with the most votes nationwide. Right now, these states account for 172 electoral votes; once that number reaches 271, the electoral college would become obsolete, like it should be.

Jonah Glickman, Sherman Oaks

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To the editor: I agree with Kinsley that trying to tamper with the Constitution is a waste of time. Yet some states disperse their electoral votes based on the popular vote distribution; that is, the votes are divvied up proportionally and not based on “winner takes all.”

This is totally apolitical. If every state had adopted this distribution in 2016, we may have a different president now. There would be no dispute about the popular will of the people versus the electoral college vote.

In California alone, millions of Trump votes would not have simply been thrown in the trash. Similarly, the 2000 election might not have been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dave Cronkey, El Cajon

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To the editor: Kinsley’s op-ed article was first-rate.

So long as we are the United States of America and not the “United Cities,” there is a need for the electoral college. Since much of the so-called flyover country is where our food supply originates, tilting policies completely toward the urban centers, the inevitable result of running things strictly on the popular vote, is self-defeating.

Kinsley points to a more pressing issue: We live in an age of vitriol. The right finds villains everywhere, and the left searches ceaselessly for victims. They bloody the waters of discourse trying to prove which side is more virtuous.

Michael Jenning, Van Nuys

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To the editor: Kinsley accurately describes the devastatingly undemocratic effects of the perversion of democracy that is the electoral college (and in passing, the disproportionate representation of small-state residents in the Senate).

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Finally, in the last paragraph, he presents his solitary argument against a constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college: It might encourage others to suggest additional amendments.

Kinsley’s is a pretty weak argument.

Brian Masson, Harbor City

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