Sunday, October 24, 2004

The Electoral College

The Electoral College bugs me. I understand why it's there--to prevent the masses from being swayed too easily by say, beer and twinkies if you vote for me. However, it doesn't really assure a fair election. Witness 2000. Gore won the popular vote, the electoral vote was contested and still, we ended up with Bush as president. It seems to me very likely that the same thing could happen in 2004. For the first time since I've been voting in presidential elections, my vote actually counts--because I'm living in a swing state. I voted for Gore in Arkansas even though I knew the state was going for Bush. I know lots of people probably didn't vote in Arkansas that year because they figured, why bother. Here's some information on that.

Anyway, I wanted to find out what the deal was with the Electoral College and whether anyone was trying to do anything about it. First, did you know that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is responsible for administering the Electoral College? I didn't. Hey, I have an M.A. in English, not PoliSci. So there's plenty of information there about how the Electoral College works and its history, including a list of all the election results.

More interesting to me was the Center for Voting and Democracy which explains how the college works, its pros and cons and possibilities for reform. I'm all for it. After the 2000 election, I remember there was a lot of discussion about reforming the system, promoting primarilty Instant Runoff Voting system explained on the Center for Voting and Democracy's website. Those discussions never really got anywhere as far as I can tell. Sigh.