Oh, That Electoral College


OK, so with the election this week, some states are being bombarded by TV ads, internet banners, and robo-calls. In Ohio, it’s absolutely nuts, which the Daily Show made fun of, calling it worse than Hurricane Sandy.

But why does Ohio matter so much? Well, because the population of Ohio tends to change its majority vote for a party rather than being consistent or strongly in favor of one party over time. Compare California (strong blue) or Texas (strong red). But why does what Ohioans think matter more than Californians?

It’s all because of the electoral college. It’s strange and the system can sometimes cause the winner of the popular vote to loose the election (i.e. the 2000 Bush/Gore election). But I won’t explain its problems, because these videos do it so much better.

How it works:

How it is messed up and fails:

It’s even worth considering what the system will do if there was a tie (though this seems unlikely at this point according to the states polls):

No matter who wins on Tuesday or now, I doubt the oddities of the US electoral system will be changed any time soon. I also wish we didn’t do the winner-takes-all voting system. There are issues with the voting system called “first past the post.” And from what I understand, the voting system that is the hardest to game and the most representative of the people’s opinions is the Borda count, similar to how student GPA is done. It also would make third party candidates more viable.

So, perhaps right your senator and ask for Borda counts from now on? It’s not like they have anything to loose having more competitive parties, right?

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3 thoughts on “Oh, That Electoral College

  1. Electoral reform!!! Which is to say, I’m a nerd. My preferred voting system is instant runoff, which takes the candidate with the least 1st place choices and reassigns them to those ballots’ 2nd place choices, etc. until some gets over 50% of vote. The last bit being the advantage over Borda. (plus it’s actually being used now in the US, I mean Kiriti and Nosturu are nice, but I wouldnt want to vote there). It can also be used to eliminate primary elections.

    Check out the National Popular Vote plan too.

  2. Pingback: Hey, VOTE! | Fleeing Nergal, Seeking Stars

  3. Pingback: US Elections 2012 is Over, So Let’s Get Back to Gridlock | Fleeing Nergal, Seeking Stars

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