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Letters to the Editor: How to fix the electoral college without changing the Constitution

Brock Ervin demonstrates outside the Indiana House chamber in 2016.
Brock Ervin demonstrates outside the Indiana House chamber before the state’s 11 electors cast ballots for president and vice president in 2016.
(Darron Cummings / Associated Press)

To the editor: Jonah Goldberg suggests scrapping the electoral college would be a mistake because the electoral college’s purpose is to force candidates to appeal to different parts of the country. Obviously, this isn’t the case any longer.

Since it seems extremely unlikely that the country would ever abandon the electoral college (and have to rewrite the Constitution), let’s advocate for each state to follow the path of Maine and Nebraska by splitting their electoral college vote based on the popular vote percentages. Instead of a winner-take-all model, these states divide the electoral college votes by congressional district.

Using the congressional district method, states allocate two electoral votes to the popular vote winner, and then one electoral vote to the popular vote winner in each congressional district. This creates multiple popular vote contests, which could lead to a split electoral vote.

This is much more likely to produce an electoral college that more often reflects the popular vote, but still makes each state important in the national election.

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Jane Seiler Weil, Ojai

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To the editor: I agree with Jonah Goldberg (and for once I didn’t have to look up a word from his article in the dictionary). But I think he missed the easiest solution.

All 29 of Florida’s electoral votes went to Trump, despite a close contest. Trump won Wisconsin by less than 23,000 votes out of nearly 3 million votes cast — and got all 10 electoral votes for the state. Is this representative government?

Each state should prorate its electoral college votes by the popular vote, instead of a “winner take all” approach. No constitutional amendment would be necessary.

The idea would be different than Jonah’s national compact of having states agree to direct their electors to vote in accordance with the national popular vote, thereby preserving some of the intent of the original electoral college balance of state’s rights. This way, Trump would have even received some of California’s 55 electoral votes!

Ron Roup, San Clemente

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To the editor: An all-in, a 50-state presidential election compact, as proposed and referenced by Goldberg, would indeed render the electoral college moot and surrender the outcome to the popular vote. But this compact could never happen. Red states would never go for it. And the compact needs almost all of the states to conform to make it viable.

The electoral college has long been the instrument of the GOP to steal elections from Democrats, viz. 2000 in Florida and 2016. It is not only an anachronism, it is an abomination. It encourages voter suppression in a few swing counties to throw the election. No other voters matter.

A much better solution to nullifying the anti-will-of-the-people electoral college would be a federal election law to ban “winner take all” and force proportional allocation of electors. That, coupled with the recent ban on “faithless electors,” would effectively eliminate its foul effects.

Jeff Drobman, Chatsworth


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