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|-+  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
| |-+  Presidential Election Process (Moderator: muon2)
| | |-+  Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college? (search mode)
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Author Topic: Is there any plausible argument in favor of the electoral college?  (Read 56579 times)
Nym90
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« on: September 09, 2008, 09:56:55 am »

It prevents a regional candidate from controlling the whole country.  I candidate can't run up huge totals in New York, New Jersey and New England and still win the presidency.

Instead, they could win narrow margins in enough states to get 270 electoral votes and get massively blown out in the rest of the country. Has that candidate really demonstrated broad appeal?
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Nym90
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008, 10:11:49 am »

The primary advantage of the electoral college is that in the event of a recount, the recount is held only in the States that are close.

But is that much of an advantage? And if so, how?

Is the argument that the number of ballots would be so large as to make a national recount impractical? If so, I can't understand the focus on re-counts--surely the first count is no different in that respect. But whatever the case may be, the assertion certainly isn't obvious, and no evidence has been offered to substantiate it.

A recount of the entire country wouldn't be any harder to do than a recount in one state, since you'd have more election workers available to assist in the recount.

One advantage of the EC that comes to mind is if the winning Prez or VP candidate dies after the election but before the EC votes (or if they die before the election but too late to remove their name from the ballot). It removes a potential complication since the electors would just vote for whomever the party chooses as their replacement.

Of course, one could counterargue (correctly, I'd add) that we may not want the electors themselves getting to decide the next President with no input at all from the voters in the event that the victorious candidate died post election.

But yeah, the only real good argument in favor of it is opportunity cost; the benefits of eliminating it would be less than the trouble and effort it would take to remove it, which would be better expended elsewhere. In the 1700's when interstate communication and travel were both far more difficult (to put it mildly) than they are today, it made sense for the winner of each individual state to matter, but not today.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2008, 10:13:50 am by Nym90 »Logged
Nym90
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 02:04:31 pm »

One question I would posit to supporters of the EC: should individual states adopt such a system to determine the state wide winner? Give a certain number of EV's to the candidate who wins each county?

The bottom line as I see it is that the popular vote is good enough to determine the winner of every other election in the entire US at all levels except the Presidency, and I fail to see what's so uniquely different about the President that it's not good enough for that election, as well. 230 years ago it might have been (when travel and communications between states were almost infinitely more difficult than they are today) but there's no longer any reason that grouping people by geography makes any more sense than grouping them by any other trait. It would be just as illogical to award a certain number of EV's for the winner of each gender, each race, each income group, etc.
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