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US Electoral College

...an opinion piece written by Bill Smart

Electoral College 2012 Votes

This opinion piece proposes two major changes to the present Electoral College system which is used in the United States to elect a president and vice-president.  I assume the reader is at least somewhat familiar with that system and don’t attempt to explain it here.  If the reader is unfamiliar with or wants to refresh their knowledge of that system, they should do so before reading further.  A good source of information on the Electoral College can be found at Electoral College (United States) - Wikipedia.com.


The two major changes to the present Electoral College system I propose concern the amount of electoral votes each state is granted and the way each state apportions their electoral votes to candidates.

Amount of Electoral Votes

Currently, the amount of electoral votes each state is granted is equal to the number of members of Congress of that state.  These numbers are determined by the latest U.S. Census which is done every ten years, the last one in 2010.

I propose that instead, the amount of electoral votes for each state be apportioned by the amount of people who cast votes for the president in that election compared to the total votes cast nationwide.  This would have two effects.  Firstly, it would adjust the voting power of the state to be in direct proportion with the citizens of that state who cared enough to vote.  Secondly, it would act as an inducement for a state who wishes to have influence on the election to encourage voting rather than making laws that discourage or even prevent some citizens from voting.  I believe in today’s computer age, this calculation could be done in real-time on the votes cast in the current election, but if that is thought to be problematic, the voting totals of the previous election could be used.

Apportionment of Electoral Votes to Candidates

I propose that the states themselves be required to distribute their electoral votes proportionately to the candidates depending on their vote totals for each candidate instead of the “winner take all” award that all but two states now use.  There would have to be rules about how fine the apportionment would be, but I’d recommend starting with the candidate garnering the most votes, determine his/her percentage of the total votes of that state, apportion that to the number of the state's electoral votes, rounding up to the nearest whole number of electoral votes. Electoral College 2012 Votes Cartogram
And just for the record, what I’d most prefer is to have our president/vice-president elected purely democratically in a nationwide election where each vote counts as much as every other.

Copyright © 2016 Bill Smart.  All rights reserved.  Reproductions permitted.

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The following was added in September, 2017, after the election of Donald Trump:

As I stated just above, my preference is to do away with the Electoral College and go with a purely democratic election. Anyone who's eligible could run or be written in during the general election. If one candidate pair does not get a majority in the general election, a run-off election should be held within a month in which only the first two candidate pairs are on the ballot. Only votes for one of these will be counted. Other votes, such as write-in's, will be discarded and not count in the vote total.

The candidate pair getting the most votes in this run-off election will be declared the victors.

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Copyright © 2017 Bill Smart.  All rights reserved.  Reproductions permitted.