Electoral College 101

I assume that if you read my blog you have an inkling as to how the Electoral College works but here it is in a nut shell.

Electoral College was established to “equalize” the votes for President between the States similar to the way the House of Representatives is structured. Since each State has a designated number of US Representatives (based on population) and 2 US Senators it made sense that the State would be allotted this number (number of Reps plus 2 Senators) of Electoral Votes. For example: Wisconsin has 2 Senators and 8 Representatives giving Wisconsin 10 Electoral Votes.

Now each State has the right to divide up their Electoral votes anyway they see fit. The most common way (Wisconsin uses this method) is a “winner take all” method. What this means is the winner of the popular vote in that State wins all of the electors (Kerry won Wisconsin and received all 10 Electoral Votes.)

That is all there is to it, the winner of the election is the candidate that wins 270 Electoral Votes. Now this method is meant to allow smaller States to still be able to participate without having their vote diminished greatly by states that are extremely populous.

A number of States however are now considering a foolish method that would ultimately eliminate the Electoral College and put the election in the hands of major metropolises like LA, New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and the like. They are proposing to ignore the will of the people in the State and designate the Electors of the State to the winner of the nationwide popular vote!

Wisconsin is not immune! Based on this press release from State Rep. Terese Berceau (D-Madison) she is going to introduce this legislation here in Wisconsin!

She states in the release that “The American people are deeply cynical and suspicious about the integrity of our national elections. Recent elections have given them ample reason to believe their votes do not always count. The clearest solution is to pass the National Popular Vote bill which ensures that every vote counts” but here is the million dollar question: How is ignoring the will of Wisconsinites going to ensure that my vote in Wisconsin counts?

This bill will diminish everyone’s vote but impacts States with smaller populations more. For instance your vote in Wisconsin makes up .000034% of the total vote in the state, but nationwide your vote only accounts for .00000082% or 3,981% less!!!! In Iowa their vote will count 8,016% less and in Wyoming 50,137% less. Unlike the states of California and New York who will only see their vote diminished by 885% and 1,555% respectively.

The current system may not be perfect but it is a lot better than making everyone’s vote count less and discouraging candidates from coming to the heartland. This bill would truly make the Midwest “flyover country.”

3 comments to "Electoral College 101"

  • Good grief. Votes will be 3% less powerful? Look, isn't the idea that the candidate with more votes should win a pretty American concept? Isn't one-person, one-vote? Republicans used to back a national popular vote as much as Democrats. Ford, Nixon, Dole, George HW Bush and many more.

    National Popular Vote has it right.

  • 3%!!! Did you not read the post...Try 3,981% less powerful if you live in WI and 50,137% if you live in WY!!!!

    Look, isn't the idea that the candidate with more votes should win a pretty American concept?

    Yes and under the current system the candidate with the most votes in the state wins the state. Very American and very fair in keeping the States rights.

    Isn't one-person, one-vote?

    It is but to impose a national popular vote diminishes the value of votes from smaller States...no longer a 1 vote to 1 vote (makes my vote in Wisconsin count less than if I were to live in NY.)

    Republicans used to back a national popular vote as much as Democrats.

    I don't care who "backs" this idea...it is not right!

  • Your math is ridiculous!
    My vote would count 3,981% less than what? How does that manifest itself in practical terms?

    I challenge you to think of the issue this way: When you vote for President of the U.S., are you voting as an American or as a Wisconsite?

    Since it is our only national election, I would posit that people vote as Americans, or at least think of themselves as voting as Americans, and I believe that this a correct manner of how they should understand the act of voting for President.

    Moreover, as Americans, all of our votes should be equal. I think that's a pretty basic concept that underpins the reason for America existing in the first place.

    But, if you are content to go through life thinking about America as a place that has 50 different weights to one's vote, depending upon what state you live in, and you're comfortable with that, then God love ya.

    But, I feel sorry for you if that is a concept of democracy that is preferable to you.

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