The attempt to dismantle the electoral college begins. SCOTUS to hear arguments.

Pogo

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IMHO the EC is a good thing, but living "electors" is not.
The States should adopt ways of counting EC votes that are both automatic and constitutional.
We need to eliminate the possibility of "faithless electors"
The basis for electors was as someone said, back in the 1780s there was no instant mass-media coverage of events.
Information is so available now that we no longer need real electors to change the popular state votes.
Once again ---- you can't have it both ways. The Constitution calls for sentient human beings as Electors, not robots.
"Faithless electors" is as bogus a term as are "red state" and "blue state". Electors are supposed to work out of conscience, not "faith".

Your second point though is well taken --- in the late 18th century a voter from say Georgia might know little about a candidate from New Hampshire and vice versa, one of the prime reasons for having an EC at all. That of course is no longer the case.

Of course the proverbial elephant in the room is that another reason for the EC as it was set up was Slave Power, which also no longer exists.

A logical conclusion from these of course would be "wait, why are we still doing it this way then?" Especially when the vast majority of the world that votes, doesn't use such a proxy system. Well, Pakistan does, that's good company.
 

Thinker101

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Your reading is correct, and no we haven't been voting for centuries. As late as 1860 South Carolina had no election day. It simply appointed electors, as had other states before that.

Again, there is LITERALLY no Constitutional requirement for any kind of POTUS election day at all. Anywhere.
Well, maybe you are right ---- my husband still believes we should go back to state legislature voting in Senators, as it was till ---- I forget when, 1800s sometime. And I happen to know (THREE books on 1859-1860 during the summer of 2016: I was worried) that Lincoln was literally not on the ballot in any of the Southern states. They just weren't having any. I don't think anybody now knows that! But it shows what you are saying. And a lot of people seem to think that primary elections have legal force, somehow, so that candidates who don't participate (like Bloomberg, others) can't get into the presidential election. But I can literally remember "drafts" (I think -- don't call me on this: it was middle 20th, IIRC) and there is no reason that can't happen again. A Dark Horse president. Which is exactly what Bloomberg is hoping for.

I guess it's like money: pure faith and tradition, nothing else underlies it. Electors used to vote as the people voted, representing the people. Now things are getting weird and we'd better fix that situation in law, some way.
You are correct, Lincoln wasn't on the ballot in the states that would become the Confederacy. Wasn't even on the ballot in his birth state of Kentucky until 1864. I've mentioned this many times. In that time ballots were printed up by the political party, not some board of elections. If you wanted to vote for (for example) the Whigs, you'd pick up a Whig ballot from them and turn it in. The Republican Party was six years old and didn't bother to organize in the South or print ballots, figuring (correctly) that their support was going to come from the north, midwest and west. That's why he wasn't on Southern ballots. Neither was the first Republican candidate John C. Frémont in 1856.

You are also correct about primary elections. That's all bread and circus to make the public think it has a voice but the party is going to pick whoever it wants regardless of any primaries. Perfect example is 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt came to the convention with a dominating delegate lead from the primaries in challenging the incumbent Taft. The party ignored that and went with the corporate guy from Ohio, whereupon TR went literally down the street and formed his own party to run in the election, which sent Taft to a third-place finish and put Woodrow Wilson into office with 41% of the popular vote.
And many of the southern states "felt" Lincoln wasn't their president (doesn't that shit sound familiar).
Soon after Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency in November 1860, seven southern states seceded from the Union. In March 1861, after he was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States, four more followed.
 

colfax_m

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Federalist paper number 68.
The Avalon Project : Federalist No 68

They were skeptical that the masses could have adequate information or proper judgement to decide the president.
Well, you seem to be saying the Founders didn't want us to vote, but to have the Electors freely choose the prez by themselves --- since we've in fact been voting as a population for centuries, and until lately faithless Electors were very rare, I don't see how you can be correct. Surely our voting tradition can't have been all wrong all along.
They wanted us to vote for electors. It was a degree of separation from the actual decision making process that they thought would insulate the presidency from falling into a populist who wasn’t really good for the country.
 

Circe

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You are correct, Lincoln wasn't on the ballot in the states that would become the Confederacy. Wasn't even on the ballot in his birth state of Kentucky until 1864. I've mentioned this many times. In that time ballots were printed up by the political party, not some board of elections. If you wanted to vote for (for example) the Whigs, you'd pick up a Whig ballot from them and turn it in. The Republican Party was six years old and didn't bother to organize in the South or print ballots, figuring (correctly) that their support was going to come from the north, midwest and west. That's why he wasn't on Southern ballots. Neither was the first Republican candidate John C. Frémont in 1856.
Well, that's you and me: and whoever reads these posts. This past way of electing presidents shows the variability possible, or at least it was possible, and warns me not to make assumptions. Despite the three books I read, yours is by far the best explanation of why the South could avoid even voting on Lincoln. I spent that summer in open-mouthed astonishment at the collapse of the Democratic Party (three separate conventions, as you must know), collapse of the Whigs, and the rise of two other parties (Republicans rising and an Independent candidate). None of this reading reassured me about 2016, and does not reassure me now, as you can imagine, I'm sure.
 

Circe

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Soon after Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency in November 1860, seven southern states seceded from the Union. In March 1861, after he was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States, four more followed.
South Carolina seceded THE DAY AFTER Lincoln was elected. That amazes me, for some reason.

This is why I wonder if the gun thing going on now in Virginia IS the opening move in another collapse. This is how it works, I think. People get fed up with abolitionists, or gun grabbers, and they secede. Virginia, ahem, does have something of a "history," after all.
 

Mac1958

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Politics don't make me emotional.
The hardcore Left wants to do this, and it will try to increase the size of the Supreme Court when they have the White House and Senate.

Maybe big decisions like this should wait until this country has recovered from its current abject fucking insanity.

If ever.
.
 

Circe

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They wanted us to vote for electors. It was a degree of separation from the actual decision making process that they thought would insulate the presidency from falling into a populist who wasn’t really good for the country.
This is a first class explanation. (I think I mean I understood it.) Okaaaaaa….y. Conservatives, he's saying we could have a problem here. That a "constitutionalist" decision by the U.S. Supreme Court would ALLOW faithless electors. Even next election...……….that would not be good for Trump.
 

Thinker101

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Soon after Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency in November 1860, seven southern states seceded from the Union. In March 1861, after he was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States, four more followed.
South Carolina seceded THE DAY AFTER Lincoln was elected. That amazes me, for some reason.

This is why I wonder if the gun thing going on now in Virginia IS the opening move in another collapse. This is how it works, I think. People get fed up with abolitionists, or gun grabbers, and they secede. Virginia, ahem, does have something of a "history," after all.
Can't imagine a Virginia secession, more likely they'll burn down the governor's house.
 

22lcidw

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Soon after Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency in November 1860, seven southern states seceded from the Union. In March 1861, after he was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States, four more followed.
South Carolina seceded THE DAY AFTER Lincoln was elected. That amazes me, for some reason.

This is why I wonder if the gun thing going on now in Virginia IS the opening move in another collapse. This is how it works, I think. People get fed up with abolitionists, or gun grabbers, and they secede. Virginia, ahem, does have something of a "history," after all.
Can't imagine a Virginia secession, more likely they'll burn down the governor's house.
If that happens that would be cool. It has been a long time.
 

Pogo

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The founders had no intention to have electors be bound to the popular vote of citizens.
Prove it. What you are saying makes no sense to me. Why would the Founders bother with voting if they wanted a few hundred people to choose the prez all by themselves?

And this is the question before the Supreme Court, so apparently most people don't think as you do, that it's a settled question that our votes don't matter.
Already covered this, but there was no "popular vote" or "election day" for POTUS when the Constitution was put together. State legislatures commonly appointed their state's electors and that was that. So it's true our votes don't matter. That's (again) why our turnout is so abysmal.

As it is now under WTA/EC, any voter in a so-called "red" or "blue" state can, on election day, (1) go vote red in a red state/blue in a blue state; (2) go vote blue in a red state or red in a blue state; (3) go cast a protest vote for a third party that is neither red nor blue; or (4) stay home and bake cookies. All four return exactly the same result with the exception that in number four you actually get some cookies. And those in a so-called "battleground" state can go vote red to block blue or blue to vote red, and unless their collective prevails their vote is also going to be tossed into the dumpster. Even if most voters in that state also voted against the "winner", as in my state here.

That's a vote that doesn't matter.
 

Pogo

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Your reading is correct, and no we haven't been voting for centuries. As late as 1860 South Carolina had no election day. It simply appointed electors, as had other states before that.

Again, there is LITERALLY no Constitutional requirement for any kind of POTUS election day at all. Anywhere.
Well, maybe you are right ---- my husband still believes we should go back to state legislature voting in Senators, as it was till ---- I forget when, 1800s sometime. And I happen to know (THREE books on 1859-1860 during the summer of 2016: I was worried) that Lincoln was literally not on the ballot in any of the Southern states. They just weren't having any. I don't think anybody now knows that! But it shows what you are saying. And a lot of people seem to think that primary elections have legal force, somehow, so that candidates who don't participate (like Bloomberg, others) can't get into the presidential election. But I can literally remember "drafts" (I think -- don't call me on this: it was middle 20th, IIRC) and there is no reason that can't happen again. A Dark Horse president. Which is exactly what Bloomberg is hoping for.

I guess it's like money: pure faith and tradition, nothing else underlies it. Electors used to vote as the people voted, representing the people. Now things are getting weird and we'd better fix that situation in law, some way.
You are correct, Lincoln wasn't on the ballot in the states that would become the Confederacy. Wasn't even on the ballot in his birth state of Kentucky until 1864. I've mentioned this many times. In that time ballots were printed up by the political party, not some board of elections. If you wanted to vote for (for example) the Whigs, you'd pick up a Whig ballot from them and turn it in. The Republican Party was six years old and didn't bother to organize in the South or print ballots, figuring (correctly) that their support was going to come from the north, midwest and west. That's why he wasn't on Southern ballots. Neither was the first Republican candidate John C. Frémont in 1856.

You are also correct about primary elections. That's all bread and circus to make the public think it has a voice but the party is going to pick whoever it wants regardless of any primaries. Perfect example is 1912 when Teddy Roosevelt came to the convention with a dominating delegate lead from the primaries in challenging the incumbent Taft. The party ignored that and went with the corporate guy from Ohio, whereupon TR went literally down the street and formed his own party to run in the election, which sent Taft to a third-place finish and put Woodrow Wilson into office with 41% of the popular vote.
And many of the southern states "felt" Lincoln wasn't their president (doesn't that shit sound familiar).
Soon after Abraham Lincoln was elected to the presidency in November 1860, seven southern states seceded from the Union. In March 1861, after he was inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States, four more followed.
Thanks for that scintillating history lesson. I've never heard of this "Lincoln" guy, thought he was a car. Live and learn.

None of this is related to what I posted though.

Those secessions you identified were engineered by hothead elements of the indolent conservative "planter class" -- the rich, who got that way on the backs of slaves, a class despised by huge swaths of the citizenry in large parts of the South such as where I am. Andrew Johnson came to speak against secession in East Tennessee, and the referendum there said no to secession by a vote of 95% to 5. The northwestern counties of Virginia seceded from Virginia over it and became its own state (East Tennessee would have done the same thing but for occupation by Confederate troops). Pockets of resistance dotted the landscape of "the South" from Searcy County (Arkansas) to the Free State of Jones (Mississippi) to Winston County (Alabama) to the Texas Hill Country to Appalachia, not to mention rampant draft-dodging, desertion and bushwackers/Home Guards, so when you say "southern states felt" as if you're describing some sort of monolith, you're leaving a lot out.
 
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jwoodie

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Invalidating the popular vote of their citizens is irrelevant. The founders had no intention to have electors be bound to the popular vote of citizens.
Neither did the founders have any intention to have electoral votes distributed through Congressional districts. The two Constitutional options are direct popular vote within a State or a vote by its legislature. Invalidating the popular vote for President is not one of them.
 

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colfax_m

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They wanted us to vote for electors. It was a degree of separation from the actual decision making process that they thought would insulate the presidency from falling into a populist who wasn’t really good for the country.
This is a first class explanation. (I think I mean I understood it.) Okaaaaaa….y. Conservatives, he's saying we could have a problem here. That a "constitutionalist" decision by the U.S. Supreme Court would ALLOW faithless electors. Even next election...……….that would not be good for Trump.
I doubt you’ll have a problem. For starters, electors aren’t random people, they’re chosen by political parties. Two, I really doubt that the SCOTUS is going to prevent state faithless elector laws. I don’t know what a “constitutionalist” is. All judges are constitutionalists. It’s the difference between the plan text of a law (textualist) and original intent (originalists).
 

Pogo

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You are correct, Lincoln wasn't on the ballot in the states that would become the Confederacy. Wasn't even on the ballot in his birth state of Kentucky until 1864. I've mentioned this many times. In that time ballots were printed up by the political party, not some board of elections. If you wanted to vote for (for example) the Whigs, you'd pick up a Whig ballot from them and turn it in. The Republican Party was six years old and didn't bother to organize in the South or print ballots, figuring (correctly) that their support was going to come from the north, midwest and west. That's why he wasn't on Southern ballots. Neither was the first Republican candidate John C. Frémont in 1856.
Well, that's you and me: and whoever reads these posts. This past way of electing presidents shows the variability possible, or at least it was possible, and warns me not to make assumptions. Despite the three books I read, yours is by far the best explanation of why the South could avoid even voting on Lincoln. I spent that summer in open-mouthed astonishment at the collapse of the Democratic Party (three separate conventions, as you must know), collapse of the Whigs, and the rise of two other parties (Republicans rising and an Independent candidate). None of this reading reassured me about 2016, and does not reassure me now, as you can imagine, I'm sure.
Actually I'm only aware of two Democratic conventions that year, the first in Charleston that had to be suspended and the second one resuming later in Baltimore. Are you counting the expulsion of the Southern delegates at the latter site as a third convention or did I miss one?

The Whigs had already collapsed largely due to their inability to come to an agreement on what stance to take on Slavery, which opened the door for the Republicans, but an offshoot of the Whigs (Constitutional Unionists) did run a significant showing in 1860; The CUs were for keeping the union intact while also keeping Slavery from spreading; its candidate John Bell won his home state of Tennessee, Lincoln's and Breckinridge's home state of Kentucky, and Virginia -- all "border" states. Another "border" state, Missouri, was the only one the Democrat Douglas won although he did get a split EV from New Jersey which split between Lincoln and Douglas, so at least that state wasn't doing WTA at the time.
 

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How exactly does the electoral college equal a free democracy?
The electoral college equals a representative democracy. Like we are supposed to have.
 
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Golfing Gator

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The USSC is looking at the "electors" and state rights, not necessarily the electoral college.
1. Can electors be bound to the vote's decision? (i.e. no "faithless" EC voters)
2. Can states tie electoral votes to the national popular vote? (voids the state voters)
3. Can states use virtual electors, meaning no physical electors, just use the states' EC votes as voted on (Constitutional?)
4. Can states allocate EC votes per congressional district? (instead of winner take all)

It will be interesting to see how much flexibility states have regarding the EC.
Number 4 has been happening in two states for more than a decade, there is no decision to be made on it. Every state going that way may be the only way to save the country from the duopoly
 

Pogo

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Invalidating the popular vote of their citizens is irrelevant. The founders had no intention to have electors be bound to the popular vote of citizens.
Neither did the founders have any intention to have electoral votes distributed through Congressional districts. The two Constitutional options are direct popular vote within a State or a vote by its legislature. Invalidating the popular vote for President is not one of them.
There are no such "two Constitutional options". You just optioned to pull that out of your ass. What the ACTUAL Constitution says is that each state chooses its electors "in such Manner as the Legislature may direct" and says *NOTHING* about how they must direct it.
 
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Circe

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NONE of them are even required to hold an election at all;
I love this point.....

number two, lumping all a state's vote into one candidate ***ALREADY*** negates the votes of everybody who voted for somebody else, even if most of that state did (again, see Michigan/Pennsylvania/Wisconsin/Virginia/Florida/Utah etc 2016);
And Maryland, My Maryland, as the song goes, and every single other state in the union. Because with the possible exception of some Southern states before the Civil War, there will always be some variation in voting; that's why we have votes. The trick is to disenfranchise as few voters as possible: I want the electors representing congressional districts. That would be more fair than the state-by-state system now.

number three if the elector's vote is FORCED then he or she is no longer an elector. If you're running a proxy system like this what's the POINT of naming any electors at all? And if you're NOT naming electors, then you have no Electoral College ---- which is what the Constitution calls for.
No, 18th century practicality does have to come into this. They had to ride a horse (roads often not allowing even carriages) to an assembly and vote. No Internet, no telegraph, no phones, bad mail, and so on. The question becomes, how to modernize for a no-horses-needed society while not killing the provisions that would allow for voting in a post-apocalyptic situation. (I'm not making the assumption that our current peace and plenty is sure to last, though admittedly a big change in that would presumably lead to a break-up of the U.S.: it's too big.)
 

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