Bypassing the Electoral College

Dr. Koza at Stanford has an interesting proposal to circumvent the Electoral College:

The first fruit of his effort, a bill approved by the California legislature that would allocate the state’s 55 electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote, sits on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s desk. The governor has to decide by Sept. 30 whether to sign it, a decision that may well determine whether Dr. Koza’s scheme takes flight or becomes another relic in the history of efforts to kill the Electoral College.

I’m not sure I like this idea. It’s a horrible perversion of state’s rights.

I’ve actually devised a better solution a few years ago but I haven’t had time to blog about it.

The idea would be to have each state perform an instant runnoff vote for the President and then have the Electoral College vote for the resulting candidate.

The major benefit of instant runoff voting is that you can vote your heart without it becoming waste. In the past if you wanted to vote for Nader or Perot it wouldn’t really count since they would end up receiving a minority. Your second favorite candidate wouldn’t receive your vote and you would risk the chance of them losing.

I think this simple change would radically alter the political landscape of this country. Most people aren’t right or left but are in fact centrist. It’s people like George W. Bush on the far right or Ralph Nader on the far left who end up damaging this country by not being fairly elected.

With instant runoff people could vote in priority. For example, you could vote for Nader, then Dean, then Kerry or McCain, then Bush. We would end up seeing the more centrist candidates winning as opposed to the polar candidates like Bush.

Partisans like Bill O’Reilly might not like this solution because they would lose power but if you’re a real American and believe in Democracy I don’t think you can argue against it…


  1. It’s called Preferential Voting and we use it in Australia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preferential_voting

    So when you have polling in Australia, you head two numbers:

    1. Primary – each candidate
    2. Two-Party Preferred – after preferences have been allocated

    It gives the Australian Senate (which is also proportionally represented based on population – unlike here) much better and broader representation. For instance, this current government holds a majority in both houses for the first time in over 25 years.

    The disadvantages are what is known as ‘preference deals’ – where independant candidates are run to ‘soak up’ votes based on some issue (you have the marijuana smoking party, shooters party, fishing party) and then these votes are just directed to one of the two bigger parties as preferences. This also has an effect in Australia since voting is mandatory for all citizens

    Parties usually dictate preferences since on ballot day they hand out ‘how to vote’ cards which show voters how to fill in the ballots so that the preferences are directed as per party policy.

    The best would be a system of preferential voting without participation in elections being compulsory.

  2. i like preferential voting, but why keep the electoral college? i also cant stand the fact that if a candidate gets the majority of votes they end up getting ALL the electoral votes. i see the electoral college as an obsolete relic, and the inability of the government to remove it or to rectify its purpose as a testament to how fundamentally broken the entire federal governmental system in the US is, unfortunately.






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