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Eliminating Electoral College?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by chestnut, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. chestnut

    chestnut New Member

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    Has anyone seen this movement yet?

    Probably not. It's these little things that are going to be swept by everyone because of all the hoobla that Obama and all the crap being thrown at us constantly.




    http://www.lemarssentinel.com/story/1507343.html

    Eliminating electoral college could impact Le Mars
    Tuesday, March 3, 2009
    By Magdalene Landegent

    Before he was president, Barack Obama shook Le Mars residents' hands. He answered their questions. He stopped at the fairgrounds and spoke in the Plymouth County Historical Museum.
    Not only that, locals had face time with other major players in the 2008 presidential race. Hillary Clinton. John McCain. Joe Biden.

    (Advertisement)

    But an idea is pushing through Iowa's Senate (and around the nation) that would virtually take Le Mars off the political map.

    Dubbed the "National Popular Vote Bill," the legislation would change the nation's presidential election so the candidate that receives the most popular votes across the nation wins the presidency.

    Currently, the president is chosen through electoral college votes. Each state in the union has a number of electoral votes; Iowa has seven.

    On election day, the 538 electors generally cast ballots based on the popular vote in their state. It takes 270 votes to win.

    The new law would bypass the electoral college.

    But, according to Iowa Sen. Randy Feenstra, the bill would also basically bypass the participation of Iowa, and even Le Mars, in the presidential election.

    Iowa's 3 million votes, he said, would be far overshadowed by larger states, and even larger cities like New York or Houston.

    "Iowa will never again be part of the system to elect a new president," Feenstra said. "Iowa would no longer have any voice in the electoral process."

    But proponents of the change say some states are already in this position. States where candidates are either ahead or behind by a large margin would be ignored, with the candidates figuring the battle there is already decided.

    According to a website promoting the change to a popular vote, www.nationalpopularvote.com, two-third of the states are ignored during elections while candidates flock to "battleground" of "swing" states -- those where the race is close.

    The website also states in 2004, candidates spent more than 99 percent of their money in 16 states.

    Feenstra argued those "swing states" change from decade to decade.

    "I looked back, and in the last 40 years, virtually every state in the union was a swing state at some point," Feenstra said.

    Going to a popular vote would mean Iowa could kiss candidate buses and townhall gatherings with presidential front-runners goodbye, Feenstra said.

    While some argue that the Iowa caucus would still keep attention on the state since it is the first caucus in the nation, Feenstra disagreed.

    "Presidential candidates won't come to the caucus because they don't need Iowa any more. They need the big states," Feenstra said.

    Mary Albrecht, a Le Mars resident, saw Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Mike Huckabee when they came through Le Mars.

    "The access we have is a wonderful gift," she said. "It is so unique. I have lived in Nebraska, Washington state and Ohio, and never before have I had the opportunity to meet high profile political names. It's almost impossible unless you're well-connected or willing to wait in super long lines."

    Albrecht took three of her children to see candidate John McCain when he made a stop in Le Mars in October 2007.

    "I wanted my kids to meet a candidate. I thought it would ignite them," she said. "My children were fascinated with the election process. They watched the news on it. And I think it started by taking them to see a real-life person."

    That was her motivation for going as well -- to see the candidates with her own eyes.

    "When you're 10 feet away from someone, they seem like a real person, not a sound bite," she said, adding that she read about the proposed change to a popular vote system for U.S. presidential elections.

    "Why would anybody think this is good for Iowa?" she asked.

    The change could also potentially impact the Iowa Straw Poll, which draws voters from all over the state to Ames in August during an election cycle to make their early pick for Republican candidate for president when there is no incumbent.

    Iowa would not be the only place impacted, Feenstra argued.

    The electoral college system, he said, weights states allowing small states to have some voice in the election process.

    "Our founding fathers realized that this was going to be a problem. They looked at a popular vote, but they said, 'This is not a good idea because it gives the big states all the power,'" Feenstra said.

    Those in favor of the popular vote system argue that, even though a candidate earns the most popular votes, he or she could still lose with the electoral college system.

    Feenstra said he sees this bill as taking power away from states.

    "The Constitution is there for us to abide by, not to whimsically throw it out the window when it doesn't fit our needs," Feenstra said.

    Dave Hector, a civics teacher at Le Mars Community Middle School, said he didn't have a solid opinion one way or another, but he leaned toward change.

    "It would make every individual vote count a little more," he said of the National Popular Vote. "I hope it would create more participation -- if people see their vote matters, they might get more involved."

    In some states, Hector said, voters might get discouraged by seeing that a certain candidate was projected to win the electoral votes and decide not to cast a ballot themselves.

    "Going to a popular vote might get more participation; it might increase voter turnout," he said.

    With a popular vote system, bigger states and urban areas would attract more attention from candidates, but going to a popular vote might increase candidates' attention to states with even less electoral votes than Iowa, Hector said.

    "We've done it with the electoral college so long it's hard to imagine what the impact might be," he said.

    Doing away with the electoral college isn't the only option states have, he pointed out.

    For example, Maine and Nebraska residents don't give all their electoral votes as one package to the one candidate who wins the state's popular vote. Those two states' electoral votes are cast separately, based on popular vote in each congressional district.

    The proposed National Popular Vote bill passed out of an Iowa Senate committee and will be on the Senate floor for debate sometime in the next few weeks, Feenstra said.

    To approve the nationwide change, enough states with a majority of electoral votes -- 270, the same number it takes to elect a president -- have to enact the bill in identical form to make the change.

    On election day, those states would award all of their electoral votes, as a unified body, to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

    "We anticipate 15-18 states are needed to all enter into a compact to give up their electoral votes," Feenstra said.

    The National Popular Vote bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland, according to the website www.nationalpopularvote.com. These four states possess 50 electoral votes -- nearly 20 percent of the 270 votes needed to make the change
     
  2. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    Last time I checked, Hillary was pushing it, when it was becoming apparent that Al Gore had lost the 2000 election. Haven't heard much from her since about it.

    Is this another instance where Democrats are trying to pretend that a law passed by Congress can supersede the U.S. Constitution?

    (yawn)
     
  3. XCALIDEM

    XCALIDEM Active Member

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    Barack Hussein Obama is the next Hugo Chavez
     
  4. Popeye

    Popeye Active Member

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    Your new screen name sounds like a diet drink.
     
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