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Author Topic: '2 for 1' voting....could it work?  (Read 7330 times)
California Dreamer
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« on: May 05, 2004, 11:36:58 am »
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The  following was in todays NYT oped. It proposes a way Nader can remain on the ballot, but have his votes added to Kerry's for the Electoral College, but doesnt involve instant runoff.


Quote
2-for-1 Voting
By BRUCE ACKERMAN

Published: May 5, 2004
 
 With Ralph Nader bobbing along at 2 percent to 7 percent in the polls, now is the time to consider whether our system is flexible enough to avoid another election in which a candidate loses the popular vote but wins the presidency. The answer is yes if Mr. Nader chooses to cooperate.

In November, Americans won't be casting their ballots directly for George Bush, John Kerry or Ralph Nader. From a constitutional point of view, they will be voting for competing slates of electors nominated in each state by the contenders. Legally speaking, the decisions made by these 538 members of the Electoral College determine the next president.

In the case of Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, electors will be named by each state's political parties. But Ralph Nader is running as an independent. When he petitions to get on the ballot in each state, he must name his own slate of electors. While he is free to nominate a distinctive slate of names, he can also propose the very same names that appear on the Kerry slate.

If he does, he will provide voters with a new degree of freedom. On Election Day, they will see a line on the ballot designating Ralph Nader's electors. But if voters choose the Nader line, they won't be wasting their ballot on a candidate with little chance of winning. Since Mr. Nader's slate would be the same as Mr. Kerry's, his voters would be providing additional support for the electors selected by the Democrats. If the Nader-Kerry total is a majority in any state, the victorious electors would be free to vote for Mr. Kerry.

This plan is consistent with the original understanding of the founders. When they created the Electoral College, they did not anticipate the rise of the party system; they expected voters to select community leaders who would make their own judgments when casting their ballots for the presidency. In designating Kerry electors rather than insisting on his own slate, Mr. Nader would be giving new meaning to this tradition that refused to view electors as simply vehicles of a candidate's will. In effect, he would be enabling his supporters to rank their choices: Mr. Nader first, Mr. Kerry second.

Over the centuries, the electors have become creatures of their parties, though they sometimes cast independent votes. Yet the Supreme Court has made only limited concessions to this reality. It has allowed political parties to protect the integrity of their mission by giving electors a place on their party's ticket only if they promise to vote for the candidates nominated at their national conventions.

But the court has never allowed any state to impose sanctions on an elector who later chooses to vote independently. Indeed, its leading decision recognizes that any promise an elector makes to his party may well be legally unenforceable because it would violate "an assumed constitutional freedom of the elector."

Nevertheless, about half of the states have sought to compromise electors' independence by compelling them to vote for the candidate or party that put them on the ballot. As a consequence, officials in these states might be tempted to reject Mr. Nader's effort to name a slate of electors who are not pledged to vote for him in the final count. In response, the Nader campaign would be obliged to go to court to vindicate the independence of the Electoral College as well as its own First Amendment right to select the electors who best fulfill its political purposes. In contrast, it will be easier to carry out the strategy in the many states that have no laws against elector independence.

The choice, then, is Ralph Nader's. If he truly has no desire to be a spoiler in November, he can structure his candidacy to allow his supporters to vote both for him and for Senator Kerry. But he must act now, when he is organizing his campaign to get on the ballot.  


Bruce Ackerman, the co-author of "Deliberation Day," is a professor of law and political science at Yale.



this seems like an interesting idea...could it really work?


I think Nader is searching for a way to remain in the race, but avoid being a spoiler. However I cant see him doing this.
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RG Fritz
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2004, 11:57:17 am »
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Hyopthetically, even if Nader did do this, I don't think it would work the way the article writer suggests.

Lets suppose a state ends up with:
Bush 48%
Kerry 47%
Nader 3%
Other 2%

In this situation, I think Bush ends up being the winner, even if Kerry and Nader had the same slate of electors and their combined total ends up winning.  Kerry and Nader were on the ballot seperately, so their votes must be tallied as seperate from each other.

I see a court case looming if Dems tried to say the Kerry slate of electors won, in this hypothetical.
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classical liberal
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2004, 12:29:32 pm »
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If you go by the original Constitutional method of EC voting, the plan is correct.  However, the Justice Scalia would have to decide whether he wanted to support his stated support of strict-constructionism or his political leanings towards favoring his friend and his other friend's son.  From a strict constructionist viewpoint, the electors are the people who are elected during the Presidential election by the people so the votes for those electors should count towards them regardless of a party.  Just as some senatorial candidates have received votes from L, C, Ref, and Independent party sections of the ballot.
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2004, 12:34:22 pm »
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If you go by the original Constitutional method of EC voting, the plan is correct.  However, the Justice Scalia would have to decide whether he wanted to support his stated support of strict-constructionism or his political leanings towards favoring his friend and his other friend's son.  From a strict constructionist viewpoint, the electors are the people who are elected during the Presidential election by the people so the votes for those electors should count towards them regardless of a party.  Just as some senatorial candidates have received votes from L, C, Ref, and Independent party sections of the ballot.

but constructionism doesn't allow for one to pick and choose his favorite version of constitutional law.  It requires that a jurist look at the latest version of the document, amendments and warts and all.  Clearly this violates the current version.  And right now our highest law does not allow for the Nader plan.  Of course you and CaliforniaDreamer are welcome to help Ralph get the ball rolling on just such an amendment if it's important to you.  The instructions on changing its content were clearly spelled out by the framers, right?
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classical liberal
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2004, 01:12:14 pm »
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There hasn't been an amendment that changes the election of electors.  States have instituted popular vote for a candidate to choose electors.  The state legislatures do still choose electors, only their chosing method has been corrupted by 200 years of political parties.
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2004, 03:16:35 pm »
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ah, that was embarassing.  yes, I actually went back and read the original post carefully instead of assuming that it said something else.  nothing unconstitutional about that, as far as I can tell.  

also, you might consider spelling lobbyist correctly in your signature.
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Fmr. Gov. NickG
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2004, 03:38:34 pm »
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On Inside Politics today, Judy asked Ralph Nader about this article.

Nader said he hadn't read Ackerman's article, but that it sounded like an "ingenious plan" and he would think about it.

My impression is that it would depend on each states ballot "fusion" laws.  Some states allow candidates to be nominated by more than one party and show up on the ballot multiple times, other states don't.  I imagine the same would apply to a slate of electors.
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2004, 07:18:24 pm »
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the ballot actually says in small letters "Electors for . . . "
so if the "Electors for . . . " Kerry are the same as the "Electors for . . . " Nader, then that slate of electors wins.
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California Dreamer
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2004, 07:37:47 pm »
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Ackerman is not some kook on some fring website. He is a Yale Professor who has written books on elections and this is the NYTimes.

I think this concept is feasable...however it would certainly end up in the courts if Nader recieved more votes than the Bush-Kerry margin in any state.

What would Sandra Day O' Conner do if she found herself once again the deciding vote to put GWB into office?
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2004, 07:45:06 pm »
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Justice Kennedy might switch sides.
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2004, 08:13:01 pm »
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the ballot actually says in small letters "Electors for . . . "
so if the "Electors for . . . " Kerry are the same as the "Electors for . . . " Nader, then that slate of electors wins.

do you have pics of a ballot?
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2004, 08:13:15 pm »
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Hyopthetically, even if Nader did do this, I don't think it would work the way the article writer suggests.

Lets suppose a state ends up with:
Bush 48%
Kerry 47%
Nader 3%
Other 2%

In this situation, I think Bush ends up being the winner, even if Kerry and Nader had the same slate of electors and their combined total ends up winning.  Kerry and Nader were on the ballot seperately, so their votes must be tallied as seperate from each other.

I see a court case looming if Dems tried to say the Kerry slate of electors won, in this hypothetical.

If that happens adn somehow Kerry ends up winning, it would spell the end of the EC.  And rightfully so.
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classical liberal
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2004, 08:19:43 pm »
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Hyopthetically, even if Nader did do this, I don't think it would work the way the article writer suggests.

Lets suppose a state ends up with:
Bush 48%
Kerry 47%
Nader 3%
Other 2%

In this situation, I think Bush ends up being the winner, even if Kerry and Nader had the same slate of electors and their combined total ends up winning.  Kerry and Nader were on the ballot seperately, so their votes must be tallied as seperate from each other.

I see a court case looming if Dems tried to say the Kerry slate of electors won, in this hypothetical.

If that happens adn somehow Kerry ends up winning, it would spell the end of the EC.  And rightfully so.

No, if Bush has a plurality but Nader electors and Kerry electors are the same slate of people, then by the EC system the Kerry/Nader Elctors win the Elector nominations that all the states now masquerade as presidential elections.  It would signify a return towards the original consensus as the the process by which we choose our president.
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classical liberal
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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2004, 08:24:53 pm »
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I found a ballot picture:



By what the ballot says, if the electors are the same for Kerry and Nader then the "votes for group" will count towards the same group total, giving Kerry's electors the state's votes in the electoral college.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2004, 08:25:08 pm by RightWingNut »Logged

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classical liberal
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2004, 09:28:35 pm »
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There's a problem with the plan though.  It's really the state legislatures that choose Electors.  Even if the popular vote gave a plurality or majority to the Kerry/Nader electors, the state legislatures could choose to go with the candidate of their choice regardless.  This type of plan would probably break the agreement of the 50 legislatures to select the electors that win the popular vote; states would once again go to the winners in the Legislature regardless of the popular vote.

What party controls each legislature?  I know MD is Dem and VA is GOP.
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« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2004, 09:29:30 pm »
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I've been reading Maine law and I think Kerry and Nader could feasably have the same electors, which would be elected if Kerry and Nader combined got more votes than any other candidate even if neither candidate did individually, but it might not matter since Maine law instructs the electors to vote for the presidential and vice presidential candidates who got the most votes in either the state (for the at-large electors) or the congressional district (for the congressional district electors).  I know that law may be unenforceable, but if an elector or some electors did not vote for Bush if Bush recieved the most votes in the state would allow Republicans to make more of a stink than just accusing the Democrats and Nader of violating the intent of Maine law, which is FPTP.  Of course when it comes to winning a presidential elections the other side whining is not much of a deterrance, but this Maine law at least presents an obsticle to what I consider an otherwise brilliant plan.

Sincerely,

Kevin Lamoreau
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classical liberal
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2004, 09:40:13 pm »
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That law must dictate that the eletors vote for the candidate whose electors received the most votes, since candidates themselves can not receive any votes and 0-0-0-0-0-0-0 give the EV's to noone.  Therefore the electors would actually be bound by that law to vote for Kerry if the Kerry/Nader electors actually receive more popular votes.
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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2004, 10:05:05 pm »
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Having Kerry and Nader share the same electors has a downside.  It undercuts kerry's attempts to make people think he's some kind of centrist.  Hitching his wagon in anyway to Nader would lose swing votes.  Very possibly could increase the Bush vote several points.  Everyone knows Nader is a leftist - not condusive to the new John Kerry I'm not really a lib line.
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classical liberal
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« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2004, 10:06:49 pm »
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1/4 of Nader' support comes off of Bush in most polls, so it may not be so much to that degree.
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2004, 10:34:07 pm »
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Yes, that is a good point   not all Nader voters are for Kerry.  Probably 3/4 is about right.
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RG Fritz
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« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2004, 07:53:23 am »
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The state legislature does NOT choose the electors- they pass laws that determine how electors are selected.  State legislatures could, theoretically, choose electors (and have been known to in the distant past), if they passed a law saying that is how electors will be chosen in that state.  That law would have to be on the books before any "election" took place, you can't change the rules after the election.  What the Florida legislature tried to do, before the SC ruled on Bush vs. Gore, was unconscionable, and I think a violation of its own state law.
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classical liberal
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2004, 11:59:49 am »
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Are you sure that the selection process is a law?  I was under the impression that it was a general consensus to vote unanimously with the popular vote.  If not then I can't find any problems with the plan.
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"As for me, I'd rather live in a free country than a 'fair' one." --David Harsanyi

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