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LastMitch

Since when is 2013 - 1776 = 300 years?

Oh, You're correct. My bad. My calculation is way off. It's 237 years!

First of all, voting for dead people is highly innefective because dead people can't be sworn in. I'll assume you meant voting by dead people. I'd love to see any actual proof of that

Just one link

I was trying to use a generic term even though the term "congressional districts" is used by American media.

We do have those too, but those are political boundries for the purpose of determing how to select members of the House of Representatives. They have no political clout other than that.

But Obama winning back-to-back victories, and with majorities? That's obvious "proof" the the system has broken down.

Not true at all. There have been lots of presidents from both parties who have won two back-to-back election. Only one president in US history has had two terms that were not back-to-back. One president - FDR - had more than 2 terms.

A democratic state has two options, either make sure your people are not too poor to prevent them from having a valid ID

That's not a valid argument. ID's are almost free (link here by state)

I think someones been watching too much of Fox News. Voter fraud, in that sense, is "virtually non-existent".

I made no mention of photo ID. But voter fraud does indeed exist, although I didn't hear about any in my area during 2012 elections.

It seems that some people hold on to such traditions and want to preserve the state of affairs laid out by the Founding Fathers two centuries ago, even if it means not doing the reforms needed to have a free, just, proportional and functional democracy in today's world.

Direct election of the President in 2012 would have made little or no difference in the outcome. Obama still received over 50% of the popularity vote. It would have probably made a difference in the Bush/Gore election a few years ago.

I looked at the just one link...

Once again, there are bold headlines and live-at-6 broadcasts about scores of bogus registrations, secret grand jury investigations and accusations of blatant race-based disenfranchisement.

Race based disenfranchisement usually means suppression of the black (ie Democrat) vote.

They said that election officials had permitted polling places to become chaotically crowded, possibly in a deliberate effort to depress the city's heavy black vote.

and

There also is plenty of talk -- unsubstantiated -- that Republican election officials are intent on making it difficult for blacks to vote, while Democratic election officials are intent on making it too easy for blacks to vote.

So there is talk that Republicans are trying to suppress the black vote while Democrats are trying to make it easier for them to vote. How is it a bad thing to make it easy for someone to vote?

And please note the use of phrases such as "unsubstantiated". You can't claim that the referenced article is proof of Democrat fraud. It seems to lean heavily in the other direction. In any case, allegations are not proof. We'll have to see what they uncover.

Not true at all. There have been lots of presidents from both parties who have won two back-to-back election.

I was being sarcastic. Karl Rove wouldn't believe the numbers presented by his own dearly beloved Fox News. Republican pundits repeatedly stated that polls showing an Obama win were obviously skewed while their own polls showing a Romney landslide were accurate. My point was that Republicans will claim a system is broken only when it no longer favours them.

I'm not saying voter fraud is rampant, just happens on occasion. There aren't enough zombies voting to make a difference in the outcome of any election.

Maybe Republicans had a good reason to attempt to suppress the black vote -- the Republicans just had a rotton candidate. Maybe the Republicans should have also tried to suppress the white vote because Obama got a lot of those too. :)

Maybe Republicans had a good reason to attempt to suppress the black vote -- the Republicans just had a rotton candidate. Maybe the Republicans should have also tried to suppress the white vote because Obama got a lot of those too. :)

With the more recent inclinations of the Republican party, I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to suppress the vote, period.

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diafol

With the more recent inclinations of the Republican party, I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to suppress the vote, period.

What, with their big mates in the NRA? :)

Democrats (most minorities are democrats) are often known for duplicate voting, and voting for dead people

How does the Democratic party know who on the voter list is dead or double registered without the institution which maintains the voter lists knowing (or the Republicans also knowing)?

The Democratic party does not have the funds/infrastructure to keep track of who is dead or not. And I don't think either political party is privy to the voter lists prior to the election so I don't see how they could cross reference them to figure out who is duplicated.

The only way would be duplicate voting may organizing/encouraging their voters to register and vote at multiple poll stations. I have yet to see any communique which would suggest the Democratic party has done this.

Therefore there is no reason to assume either accidental or deliberate duplicate voting is more common among Democratic voters than Republican voters. I rather suspect the reverse since Republicans seem to know much more about how to do it than Democrats.

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diafol

Misdirection maybe? When it comes to honesty, reform and social justice, I wonder who'd be against that?

The Democratic party does not have the funds/infrastructure to keep track of who is dead or not. And I don't think either political party is privy to the voter lists prior to the election so I don't see how they could cross reference them to figure out who is duplicated.

Don't need access to voter lists, just visit any cemetary an clip obituaries from the newspaper.

The only way would be duplicate voting may organizing/encouraging their voters to register and vote at multiple poll stations.

Exactly.

I have yet to see any communique which would suggest the Democratic party has done this.

I don't mean to suggest viter fraud is encouraged by the Democratic party, the fraud that happens is most likely done at local level or just by individual initiative rather than by some santioned political party policy.

The point is not whether or not voter fraud exists. It does. However, every investigation, even those carried out by Republicans, has shown voter fraud to be extremely low. The point is that only one party is screaming "votor fraud" and using it to suppress legitimate votes. And the votes that are being suppressed are those in areas that are heavily Democratic. That is fraud and it affects millions of people. The GOP has repeatedly shown it is not above taking any measures to steal elections. They've user Gerrymandering, disenfranchisement and out and out lying. So my point was that the next logical step is to "reform" the electoral college under the guise of making it more democratic. Given what they've already done, don't you believe they are capable of that?

So my point was that the next logical step is to "reform" the electoral college under the guise of making it more democratic.

How would that solve the problem of voter fraud? Eleminating the electorial college and elect President by direct popular vote will do nothing to solve that problem.

I don't mean to suggest viter fraud is encouraged by the Democratic party, the fraud that happens is most likely done at local level or just by individual initiative rather than by some santioned political party policy.

Then how can you say "Democrats" are known for duplicate voting? I see 0 evidence that the small amount of voter fraud is biased towards voters of one particular party, in which case any action to completely eliminate it (frankly impossible because of human error by those running polling stations) will not change the results of elections (since fraud is likely evenly spread to all parties/candidates) unless it also results in biased disenfranchisement of a population (eg. the poor, or minorities). Thus biased disenfranchisement by increasing voter regulations subverts democracy much more than the small amount of voter fraud.

How would that solve the problem of voter fraud? Eleminating the electorial college and elect President by direct popular vote will do nothing to solve that problem.

1) Its impossible to 100% eliminate voter fraud, there is just too much human error inherent in the system. From staff checking IDs to people handing out ballots to people counting ballots. Machines don't solve the problem either since people have to build, set up, repair, and maintain the machines. But since voter fraud is not biased to either party and all the evidence says it is at very low levels its unlikely it has any effect on the outcome.
2) eliminating the electoral college could reduce the effect of voter fraud (if a handful of votes don't decide the fate of all the [points?] for a state then voter fraud would have to happen on a ridiculous scale to effect the outcome of an election.
3) eliminating the electoral college of only particular states can easily change the outcome of any election (eg. eliminate it for just red states and the Dems will win, and vice versa)

eliminating the electoral college of only particular states

That can' happen, it would require a constitutional amendment to eliminate the electorial college system, and that requires a vote of 3/4 of the states (3/4 * 50 = 38 states). Just getting such a bill passed by congress is next to impossible, they can't even get a budget on time let alone pass a bill to amend the constitution.

How would that solve the problem of voter fraud?

You are still missing my point. The Republicans are not interested in eliminating voter fraud because voter fraud is not the problem that they say it is. What they are doing is using voter fraud as a rallying cry in order to disenfranchise the voters in demographics thay typically vote Democrat.

And I will say again, I never claimed that the GOP is trying to eliminate the Electoral College. Doing so would still have resulted in an Obama win. However, by "reforming" the way that EC votes are allocated would have resulted in a Romney victory in 2012.

That can't happen, it would require a constitutional amendment to eliminate the electorial college system

Again, please read my posts carefully. I said nothing about eliminating the EC. However, "reforming" the way the EC votes are allocated can be done by each state and does not require a constitutional amendment (as you pointed out is the case for Maine and Nebraska).

So, you would give more weight to sparsly populated areas then to densly populated areas?? That doesn't make much sense. IMO the EC should just be abolished and get rid of that headache.

IMO the EC should just be abolished and get rid of that headache.

OK, we're getting somewhere now. So, let's imagine that things could change. What would be the ideal system? But still, a functional system.

I would go for a proportional allocation of electoral votes, as so:

  • Each state gets a number of electoral votes in proportion to its population (updated every 4 years).
  • The number of electoral votes awarded to each party within a state is chosen as the best approximation of the popular vote obtained by each party (e.g., if there are 24 electoral votes in a state and the popular vote ended up at 60% / 40%, you end up with 15 / 9 electoral votes).

I think that would be fair, and wouldn't be subject to gerrymandering, as long as all states functioned this way. It would also give better chance to third parties (I know, that's dreaming... only in real democracies do third parties get a say, the US is a long way from there). In any case, it would be a first baby-step towards getting democratic elections in the US.

The next thing on the agenda (while we are re-engineering the system, in our imagination) would be, IMHO, an instant-runoff voting system.

I know that it is a wacky idea to think that things could change and a system could be fashioned by the people, of the people and for the people. But wasn't that the main achievement of the Founding Fathers? Isn't that the "crazy" idea they had? Isn't that what Americans should aspire to conserve, this spirit of re-shaping the world for the better? Isn't that the ideal that was so hard fought when independence was sought?

. What would be the ideal system?

Election of the President by popular vote only. Whoever gets the most popular votes nationwide gets elected. Every voter in every state gets the same vote as every other voter. Since the EC is abolished there would, by definition, be no electorial votes. The EC is as obsolete as the horse & buggy.

I would like to think electronic voting could be implemented, but computers are far to prone to hacking for that to be feasible.

Election of the President by popular vote only.

The only issue in this case is if a re-count is needed you'd have to re-count the entire country rather than just one state or one "area worth 1 EC vote". But it is by far the simplest and most fair system (using EC votes but allocating EC votes by population requires constant updates of EC votes/state as populations change which would be a real headache).

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Everyauction

Election of the President by popular vote only. Whoever gets the most popular votes nationwide gets elected.<

The USA consists, politically, of two Blocks, in Size, more or less, equal. Whoever gets to be President, the Politic made will usually favour the interests of one of those Blocks. Since US Senators and Congress- Peoples are, compared to Europe, more independent in making their own political decisions, a President has be very wise to get and keep those small and fragile Majorities for the even smallest and most unimportant matters.

Regardless of who elects the President - a President, not supported by the influental Parties/Peoples/Media of a System, will fail.

But this would be the worst of all the bad Solutions, because then, Money, not Competence, would be, at last, the only Tool needed, to make it to the White Hall...

Ernie

So, you would give more weight to sparsly populated areas then to densly populated areas?? That doesn't make much sense. IMO the EC should just be abolished and get rid of that headache.

I didn't propose any changes to the current system. Stop putting words in my mouth and go back and read my posts. All I claimed was that the GOP would try to change the current system because the current system is no longer working for them.

Election of the President by popular vote only. Whoever gets the most popular votes nationwide gets elected.

I think this is fair.

Every voter in every state gets the same vote as every other voter.

Except in red states where the GOP has suppressed Democratic votes.

I would like to think electronic voting could be implemented,

I think the only way electronic voting could work (and be seen to work) is to use machines for candidate selection (where the candidates are presented in an uniform and unambiguous manner), then have the machine print out a ballot with the selected candidates clearly marked. This ballot could be checked by the voter to ensure it was marked correctly. The voter woould then take that ballot and feed it into another machine which would tally the selections and save the ballot so it could be manually checked in the event of a recount.

Checks and balances.

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diafol

HoR: Rep Majority, Senate: Dem Majority

If Obama wants to introduce a bill, I assume it has to go through HoR in the first instance? How does he get anything done?

The President can not introduce bills nor does he pass laws or the budget. He has to get someone in the house or senate to do it for him.

How does he get anything done?

Very little all by himself. That's why he has a lot of meetings with congress, to try and persuade them tp vote the way he wants them to. The President has very little power to do anything on his own (military action being the exception). The President can't spend a penny without congressional approval.

Election of the President by popular vote only. Whoever gets the most popular votes nationwide gets elected.

This seems fair, but I think that making the electoral votes proportional to the state's popular vote is actually do-able within the bounds of the constitution and would have the same effect (a few rounding-off errors aside). In fact, the Founding Fathers never intended for a winner-take-all electoral college system and attempted to ban it, as the travesty that it is. Here's an interesting article on those tribulations. The current winner-take-all system was essentially the result of a cascade of gerrymandering. It is also interesting to note that the original non-proportionality of the system was in large part motivated by a large population of slaves that didn't count, and thus, southern states would be under-represented by a proportional system (because they couldn't count their slaves as part of their voting population).

Personally, I'm a big fan of instant-runoff voting systems. Because I think that beyond the problem of non-proportionality (i.e., popular votes not necessarily agreeing with the presidential election), there is a huge problem of locking up the electoral system into strict two-party races, which inevitably leads to two parties that are barely distinguishable (e.g., Democrats and Republicans) and only catering to their donors, who usually give almost equally to both sides. And you end up with rather trivial issues being central to elections.

HoR: Rep Majority, Senate: Dem Majority

If Obama wants to introduce a bill, I assume it has to go through HoR in the first instance? How does he get anything done?

How does he get anything done? He can't really get anything done, and that's the point. The whole Senate + HoR + President system is more or less designed as in interlocking system that can never really move unless every politician agrees (and they usually do when they get their money from the same sources). It guarantees that nothing changes on anything that is contraversial, and it guarantees that everything else moves in the direction of the manufactured consensus. It's a dysfunctional system, no doubt about it.

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diafol

It's as I thought then, the system is truly messed up. I suppose it stops tyrannical rule, but, as you say, nothing of any import can be achieved by a visionary leader. Bloody ridiculous.

nothing of any import can be achieved by a visionary leader. Bloody ridiculous.

Oh, you mean one like Adolf Hitler or Joe Stalian? We don't need those kinds of visionary leaders. AFAIK both England and France have similar governments as the USA.

And Godwin's Law holds true yet again. FDR was a visionary leader. Would you like to compare him to Hitler as well?

He was also the only president to be eldected for four terms and is what prompted the 22nd amendment.

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diafol

AFAIK both England and France have similar governments as the USA.

Jeezuz AD, when are you going to get it??! England does not have a government - the UK does.

And no, they don't have a similar government (well not the UK anyway). Usually, the Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party in Parliament (or the largest party within a coalition). This gives the government a mandate to introduce bills. Parliament votes and then it gets kicked upstairs to the House of Buffoons (Lords). So, as long as they don't introduce ridiculous bills, the running of the country (by the party via PM) should broadly follow manifesto promises as there should be a majority to vote for these measures in the HoC.

We currently have a single-winner, highest-vote first-past-the-post (FPP) system for constituencies, although we have been promised proportional representation (PR) for some time. These constituencies are not of an equal size, neither population nor area wise.

However, the Welsh Government has a mixture of both systems. Mostly FPP, but there are a number of 'top-up' seats derived via PR. Again the First Minister is the leader of the majority party or the largest party within a coalition.