CitizenReporter (aka Joe Hutchison) is a writer of prose (essayist) and published political commentary (home site) also featured at:
Memphis Libertarian Examiner | | Associated | and Google Buzz | Author's email | Author's Home

The Electoral Albatross

Our founding fathers were truly remarkable men, by any standard. They created an amazing document that spelled out privileges, rights, and even god-given guarantees of protection to some ideas and ideals that were generations ahead of their time. In this document the rights of the one versus, with, and relative to others are spelled out in such detail and with such clarity as to distinguish this document from all others, past and present. A few of those ideals became dated over time and required updating or amending. One in particular has become an albatross that is adversely affecting citizen representation in government. The electoral college has outlived it usefulness.
Just like the early labor unions, both served a valuable and much needed purpose. But both now often work against the greater good. The creators of this nation were concerned that larger more populous states might hold too much sway in presidential elections in relation to smaller states. No doubt they were also concerned that as the population grew over time the practicality of the one-man one-vote principle would be harder to maintain. So the electoral college was conceived whereby voters in a state were represented by persons from and accountable to the citizens of that state. But it is two and a half centuries later and things have changed to the point that this system is now guilty of the inequities it was designed to curtail.
It can little be doubted the intent of the design was not to allow a 51% majority in one state to outweigh a 60-70% majority across half a dozen states or more. But that is what is currently happening. If Candidate A wins California by a slim margin an receives its 55 electoral votes, Candidate B would have to win virtually every other state west of the Mississippi River (save Texas) to counter that tally. This is not protective of those smaller less populous states, it marginalizes them. It also sets the table for a candidate to win the oval office with less than half of the overall popular vote. There are other problems as well.
Looking back at the presidential election of 2008, a clear pattern of both candidates bypassing states deemed as “already decided” and focusing on so-called swing states where the outcome was still in some doubt, led to preferential campaigning, state and voter marginalization, disenfranchisement, and apathy. Candidates rarely actively campaigned directly against one another in person in states that had fewer than twenty electoral votes. Instead they campaigned across each other in the mainstream media which was overtly biased for various reasons. This media campaigning also allows the dollar king to wield undue influence. If the presidency is for sell, why not just have the political parties or candidates simply bid for the oval office on e-bay?
One man, one vote. Or in more gender sensitive politically correct terminology, one person, one vote. It’s a very catchy phrase, one that appeals to every true American. The problem in implementation however became extremely difficult as the population grew. Just as our forefathers envisioned. In a system where more than half of all eligible voters are disenfranchised to the point of self exclusion, every vote has never been counted. And hand counting or inspecting millions of votes cast in a wide-ranging assortment of methods and within a few hours so the news agencies can bring the winner’s acceptance speech into living rooms on prime time television was impossible in times past. But modern technology has us on the brink of that goal. With the notable exception of Florida. Now, more than ever before, the one person one vote concept is obtainable. And the subjectivity and accuracy could be improved with practice. Its time to stop ignoring millions of voters. It's time to count every vote once more.

No comments:

Post a Comment