Re: NYTimes.com Article: Abolish the Electoral College

From: David Mertz <voting-project_at_gnosis_dot_cx>
Date: Mon Aug 30 2004 - 00:35:06 CDT

On Aug 30, 2004, at 1:09 AM, Charlie Strauss wrote:
>> I tend to like this idea as well. But there is likely to be a sort
>> of "prisoners dilemma" issue here. Every state wants the *other*
>> states to adopt a more proportional system so that their *own*
>> electors voting as a block increase the influence of that state.
>
> I think maybe not. This PD logic only applies to swing states, which
> currently dont have problem getting attention, so going proportional
> might dillute their attention as you say. But "safe" states get less
> attention as there is no marginal utility in campaigning in a state
> whose outcome is a foregone conclusion.

Well... "safe" states have a different dilemma, I suppose. Just as an
example, take heavily Democratic Massachusetts, where I live. All the
electors for Massachusetts basically always go Democrat. But for the
same reasons, the State legislature is also predominantly Democratic.
What's the chance that a bunch of Democrats in MA are going to vote,
effectively, to give a couple of the state's electors to a Republican
Presidential candidate.

A symmetrically, what's the chance Mississippi's legislature is going
to vote to give a couple electors to Democrats?

In a way, it's only swing states where there is likely to be the
political impetus to assign electors proportionally.

> I thought so too but then I went back and checked the constitution.
> Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution says, "The times, places, and
> manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be
> prescribed in each State by the legislature therof; but the Congress
> may at any time by law make or alter such regulations, except as to
> the places of choosing senators."

Well, maybe I'm wrong. But Section 4 speaks to electing Senators and
Representatives, not the President. So I don't think the quoted clause
is determinative.
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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:20 2004

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