Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Why the Electoral College is ridiculous

Or, the irony of the lie "My vote doesn't count". Politicians have wet dreams about having a small, captive electorate to manipulate.

This is admittedly an extreme example, but it doesn't take much to translate it into a stolen election. If you thought the final "result" in 2000 was bad, consider:

Sort the states in ascending order by the number of electoral college votes. Alaska, DC and Delaware are at the top of this list with 3 votes each, and NY, Texas and California are at the bottom with 31, 34 and 55 respectively.

Next, determine the number of eligible voters in every state (not hard, these stats are published... don't worry, I've done this for you). An important assumption: ignore the fact that a few states allow for a split in their electoral votes, rather than winner-take-all. This can skew the results by a measurable but small amount. For our purposes, this is a safe assumption.

Now, calculate the minimum majority vote in each state, starting at the top. This is 50% plus one-half, rounded to the nearest integer.

Okay, stay with me. Add up the electoral votes until you get enough to elect the President. On our list, Georgia becomes our lone "swing" state, because the total up to that point is 267 and 270 is needed to win, which means that the winner in our little exercise gets 282 electoral votes. (In case you haven't heard, it is possible to have a 269-269 tie. Go ahead, shudder.)

Finally, add up the minimum majorities in each of those states that go to our winner. Here is what the numbers would have looked like in 2000:

Total eligible voters (obviously an estimate) -- 205,815,000
Total % of eligible voters to get 267 electoral votes -- 21.536%
Total % of eligible voters to get 282 electoral votes -- 22.968%

That's right, my children. You too (if you are a native born citizen) can be elected President with only 23% of the popular vote.

But wait!! The actual voter turnout in 2000 was 105,284,707, which is 51.155% of the eligible voters. If we redo our calculations, but use the actual turnout presidential vote in each state, our numbers look just a little (snerk) different.

Total turnout -- 105,284,707
Total % of turnout voters to get 267 electoral votes -- 22.745%
Total % of turnout voters to get 282 electoral votes -- 23.972%

Adjusted % of eligible voters in 2000 to get 267 EVs -- 11.635%
Adjusted % of eligible voters in 2000 to get 282 EVs -- 12.263%

So, my children, it's even easier than first meets the eye. All you need to do is convince a bit more than 12% of the eligible voters in this country to take the highest office in the land, to become the most powerful leader in the history of the world.

If you need to vomit, be sure to use a bucket.

Hey Franklin I found you from Rod’s blog...From what I understand the origins of the Electoral College stemmed from the lack of knowledge local individuals were able to obtain about national politicians due to the lack of media resources in the 18th century. In addition the high illiteracy rate made politicians believe that the common man was not capable of making an 'educated' decision on their own about federally elected officials.

If I have that more or less correct, not only is the Electoral College antidemocratic, but also completely antiquated. If my general history is wrong in some way, feel free to correct.
Steve, if this Federal Election Commission document is at all accurate, you are quite right in your assessment of the EC. I don't know about the education aspect, but the culture of the time found it ungentlemanly for a man to run for political office.
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