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Monday, October 29, 2012

What Do You Think About Modifying the Electoral College?

Posted by Paul Constant on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Every election year, folks complain about the Electoral College. Which is understandable! It's complicated and it results in Ohio being the most important state for an entire year every four years. But the thinking behind the Electoral College is pretty sound: The Founding Fathers wanted the states to vote for president as states, not as one giant body. I think there are compelling arguments for keeping the election down to state-level. It emphasizes the importance and needs of different regions of the United States. But I think that this suggestion of a constitutional amendment sounds interesting, too:

The head of the House Democratic campaign arm this week proposed a constitutional amendment that would give the winner of the popular vote in the presidential race an additional 29 electoral votes.

Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) did not offer an explanation in the joint resolution filed in the House for why he was proposing to change the way elections in the U.S. are decided.

The downside of the Electoral College is that there are whole parts of the country that the candidates don't feel like they have to woo. Republicans stay in rural areas, Democrats try to work the urban areas. That might have something to do with the persistently rabid Us Vs. Them-ism of the last few elections. By releasing 29 Electoral College votes to the popular vote, campaigns would necessarily have to look up from their swing state obsessions every now and again to ensure that the whole country is hearing their message, not just a few undecideds in the middle. And it maintains the Electoral College, for traditionalists.

Let's pretend that this amendment had a chance in hell of passing. (It doesn't.) What do you think about it?

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