Poll: Should we scrap the Electoral College?

We’re discussing the Electoral College today at 10:06. What’s your take?

-Stephanie Curtis, social media host

  • Bruce W. Morlan

    As a statistician I see the electoral college not as an anachronism of the past but rather as an approximation to exactly the methods we applaud when used by pollsters. It is a form of stratified sampling and as such it protects against errors in sampling. For example, just imagine if Sandy (the hurricane) was making landfall today rather than last week. Imagine if San Fransisco suffered a major earthquake tonight. The electoral college helps ensure that high or low turnouts in strongly red or blue states do not shift the balance and pick the winner simply because some voters could not get to the polls (admittedly, the extra two votes per state is not consistent with this, but the concept of stratified sampling as approximated by the electoral college is a very valid concept).

    Three times in our history the electoral college has picked a winner that the popular vote had not. It is a sign of our general innumeracy that, so far as I have seen, nary a journalist nor a pundit will even attempt to explain that having the popular vote pick a different winner than the electoral vote is a strong argument FOR the electoral college, rather than an indicator against it.

  • Matt

    Question:

    When and how and why did the electoral college change to a winner take all system?

  • David Brown

    The electoral college should be reformed…votes in Wyoming should not count three times as much as those in California.

  • Ray

    I think if we scrap the Electoral College we need to make voting mandatory. Tax penalties should be enforced if you do not vote.

  • Paul Jasmer

    After Bush won in 2000, there was a resolution before the DFL State Central Committee to abolish the Electoral College. I spoke against abolishing the Electoral College because I want the Electoral College as a buffer, with each state serving as a filter between the popular vote and the Election of a president. However, if we were to change how a chief of state is selected, I would choose a Canadian style parliamentary system with a non-partisan Governor General (appointed by the Queen) to conduct the formalities of state while having political leadership in the office of the Prime Minister. A Prime Minister has to answer questions of the people reps in Parliament, and is thereby more accountable to the people than a president.

  • Gwen

    Re: mandatory voting? Absolutely, a great idea. But GOP will never support.

    1. It’s my understanding that about 70% of those who don’t vote, would vote Democrat if they did.

    2. There would have to be some kind of mandatory ID to even know who is mandated. The GOP has been opposing mandatory ID’s or a national ID for nearly 40 years.

    3. They don’t even support our Census process. GOP leaders support those who don’t want to be counted during during the Census process and have encouraged their constituents to not turn in their Census forms! (Gutknecht in 2000, Bachman in 2010 and many others….)