Monday, January 29, 2007

Electoral travesty

From the department of:  What could they possibly be thinking?  I was trolling some stuff related to elections when I found this:

    But Oregon's status could change under a pending bill in the Legislature that would award the state's seven electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote nationally, regardless of who wins the state. Similar legislation, which is being filed in more than 45 other legislatures around the country, won approval from the members of the Colorado state Senate this past week.

So instead of some concocted thing where the electoral votes are changed to some mix of the total vote for each candidate, like some states have it now, our electoral votes would go to the candidate that the other 49 states chose, not us.  Talk about a move AWAY from representative government.  What dung for brains decided that this would be a neat idea, you ask?

    "I think this is very promising," said House Majority Leader Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone, a key backer of the popular vote legislation in Oregon. "Clearly, the national electoral college is antiquated. I believe that whoever wins the popular vote should win, whether that is a school board or the U.S. presidency."

Sure it's antiquated when it's your party that's on the losing end of the last two election cycles.  Frankly, I can sort of see the attraction of splitting the electoral votes along the lines of the state's popular vote, even though I still think that's wrong, but this…  this is pure drivel.

There's a reason that the electoral college was created, and I still think it's a good one.  To call the system antiquated betrays an ignorance of history and the origin of the ideas that founded this country's election system (still the best in the world, despite the election fraud that pops up every cycle).

You'll also notice that the Democrats trying to enact this are at odds national party members.

    "It will increase the likelihood that both presidential candidates would come to a medium-sized state like Oregon, because instead of just being in one column or the other, we would have 3.5 million people, and a lot of potential voters," Hunt said. "And anything that encourages the counting of every vote I think is a good thing."

But earlier…

    The idea has its fierce detractors, some of whom have argued that in a close national vote, chaotic recounts would be demanded in every state. Wayne Kinney, a Democratic National Committeeman who lives in Bend, said he fears that moving to such a system would mean relatively small states like Oregon would be overlooked.

    "Logic tells you, you go where the votes are," he said. "Look at how they campaign here in Oregon -- they do a lot more in Portland than in Burns."

So either candidates spend more time here or they don't.  Which is it?
I tend to agree with Kinney.  The electoral college was set up so that smaller states (smaller in population) would not get left behind in the election campaigning, and that candidates would spend more time in more out of the way places.  Changing that system guarantees marginalization for all states but California, NY, Texas and the like.

Hat tip to Jack Bog

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