December 12, 2008

Electoral College with a LocalTwst

Dare County Commissioner Virginia Tillett will a part of history when she casts the Electoral Vote for NC's Third Congressional District on Monday. This is the constitution come to life. Virginia was chosen at the district Democratic Convention back in the summer when no one really thought it would matter. A lot of hard work and surprise NC goes blue and Virginia gets to chose the President. We will try to get some comments after the event.

The NC Democratic Party issued this release.

NC Democrats Cast Electoral College Ballots on Monday, Dec 15

NC Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall will convene the state's Electoral College at noon on Monday, Dec. 15 at the Old Hall of the House of Representatives in the State Capitol.

The 2008 meeting of the Electoral College will feature comments from Secretary Marshall. The North Carolina National Guard Honor Guard will provide the color guard; Miss North Carolina Amanda Watson will sing the national anthem; and State 4-H Council President Caleb Black will lead the pledge of allegiance.

Space is limited in the Capitol's Old Hall, where the Electoral College will meet as state law requires.

Overflow seating, however, is available in the auditorium of the NC Museum of History, where the proceedings will be broadcast for those wishing to watch the event in downtown Raleigh.

The public can also watch the event on the Secretary of State's website via live streaming from the State Capitol via satellite.

The Nov. 4 popular vote determined that electors nominated by the North Carolina Democratic Party will cast the official ballots for the state. North Carolina's 15 electors will cast their ballots and prepare Certificates of Vote for the President and Vice President of the United States.

Commenting on the degree of attention being focused on this Electoral College, Secretary Marshall noted: "This will be a particularly historic Electoral College, as electors gather here in Raleigh and in state capitols around our nation to vote for the first African-American President of the United States."

"We've just witnessed a historic election cycle that produced North Carolina's highest voter turnout since 1984, and that sparked an incredible surge in political participation from our youth," Marshall said. "No matter who you supported in this arduous campaign, this is history being made and a wonderful civics lesson for us all."



At 8:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A civics lesson should include knowing that . . .

The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people were merely spectators to the presidential election. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide. This has occurred in one of every 14 presidential elections.

In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, of course, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The National Popular Vote bill has passed 22 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes — 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


At 10:16 AM, Blogger BOBXNC said...

Personally I like the Maine system that allocates EC votes by congressional district and the 2 Senate votes by statewide winner. I comes closer to popular vote without requiring a federal constitutinal amendment It reduces the odds of a minority vote President and should spread campaign efforts much more evenly.
I believe the more important electoral reform is to work to balance the representation in congress and state legislatures through some type of weighted or balanced voting.
Thanks for the civics lesson!

At 9:27 PM, Blogger Monticello said...

Two points. Almost every time we have a viable 3rd party candidate, we elect a minority President, in this case, a plurality leader. Happens far more often than the Electoral College victory/popular vote loss cited by the previous poster.

Also, the Electoral College was designed to prevent exactly what the poster supporting popular vote cites. The Founder's were aware that if a straight popular vote elected the President, small states would have little or no say in an election, and candidates would have no reason to campaign there. White today some elections concentrate on battleground states, if your poster prevails, ALL campaigns will concentrate on "markets" with the most popular votes; i.e., look for a lopsided margin in a very large states. The remaining 35-40 states would be lucky if they saw a VP candidate show up if we go to popular votes.

At 10:25 PM, Blogger BOBXNC said...

Is that an edorsement of the EC or do you have a different suggestion?

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Monticello said...

I like the EC as is, but I would prefer the electors be bound. I am not in favor of a pure popular vote for reasons cited; big states would tend to attract all the attention and their concerns would prevail in debate. The proportional method you cited may be a good compromise; it would essentially balance rural, suburban and urban interests nationwide. The problem there is that it might skew Electoral votes to rural areas; for example, McCain would have picked up significant electoral votes in PA, CA, and even NY in congressional districts he carried under a proportional system.

At 3:42 PM, Blogger BOBXNC said...

You are right. The Maine system does swing a bit towards rural States. Voters in Montana and Alaska get a larger amount of EC vote per voter than CA. or NY. I can live with that since it broadens the target for campaign rather than narrowing it as the current model does. Under this model in NC 08 Obama won 8 CDs McCain won 5 so Obama would have gotten 10 EC votes and McCain 5. A distribution much closer to the actual vote. See this part of for their work on this question it is not complete.
Another alternative is to allow campaiging only for the EC and go back to the original model when a small group meets and actually chooses the President without prior commitments to candidates or parties. It might get some of the hubris out of the office.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger Monticello said...

I actually think going back to the old way of parties choosing candidates at conventions rather than primaries would deal with hubris, pretty boys & girls, and media campaigns. While much was wrong with the "smoke filled room", it forced consensus, allowed states to nominate favorite sons to keep the campaign open, and kept us from picking a candidate too early. Imagine if Edwards had piled sewn it up before his revelations, and I seriously doubt Palin would have emerged from a convention!


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