Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

News Presidential elections: popular vote, proportional votes, winner take all?

  1. Aug 1, 2007 #1


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Do you think Presidential elections should be decided by popular vote, a proportionals distribution of electoral votes (similar to Nebraska and Maine), or by a winner take all electoral vote system?

    After you answer, check out this article. It might change your mind:

    California Proposal Could Sway 2008 Race

    I like the Nebraska/Maine system. As is, if you live in Western New York (mostly Republican), you may as well not vote for President. If you live in parts of California, you may as well not vote for President. Even in a smaller state like Colorado there's a huge difference between Denver and the rest of the state.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 1, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I would prefer a popular vote. One person, one vote, no districts to gerrymander, and no state-by state winner take all. As things stand, a candidate can win by a slim majority in a few key states, lose the popular election, and claim victory. That is certainly not the basis for a fair representative democracy. In fact, it is a formula for the disenfranchisement of voters from rural/sparsely-populated states, whose voices are not heard and whose votes are not courted. Why campaign in Maine or South Dakota, when you can win the election with slim margins in FL, TX, NY, PA, OK, and CA? Politics is a game of greed and payback, and candidates see little payback for addressing the needs of rural communities.
  4. Aug 1, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Rural, sparsely populated states have an advantage in a proportional electoral vote system. Electoral votes are based on representatives in Congress and each state has a minimum of 3 (2 Sen, 1 Rep) regardless of how small their population is. A vote in South Dakota is worth 2.12 times as many electoral votes as the average (keeping in mind a single vote is an extremely small fraction of an electoral vote). A vote in Maine is worth 1.66 times as many electoral votes as the average.

    Populous states are disadvantaged. A vote in Florida is worth .85, a vote in Texas .83, New York .88, PA .92, OK 1.08, and CA .84.

    If small states are disenfranchised, it's because there's almost no chance of their votes switching from one party to the other in a winner take all system.

    Any electoral power under the winner take all system is because of a balance between Republicans and Democrats. A vote in Ohio in 2004 was worth more in electoral votes than South Dakota or New York because Ohio was a close election worth 20 electoral votes. South Dakota and New York could be safely put in a candidate's pocket before the campaigns even started.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook