Previous   Next

How much do you know about the Electoral College?

Asked at Tower Plaza, 2540 Iowa on November 1, 2004

Browse the archives

Photo of John Arnold

“Too much. I don’t like the system in Kansas. I think we should change it to proportion like in Maine and Nebraska. Not winner takes all. The issue is currently on the ballot in Colorado.”

Photo of Debbie Seusy

“I wish I knew more, because I think that we are all going to find out a lot more about it on Wednesday. I’m not sure it is the best way to elect the president.”

Photo of Justin Chamberlin

“The higher the population, the more electoral votes the state has. I think it’s a crappy system. It should be changed.”

Photo of Kathi Firns-Hubert

“More than I’d like to know. I’m not happy with it. I think it ends up being a misrepresentation of the American public’s will.”


tell_it_like_it_is 13 years, 4 months ago

Hoofy...your gonna be cryin' in your cornflakes come Wed. morning when your cheerleader boy loses. Yee-Haw!!

Carmenilla 13 years, 4 months ago

I hope that hoofy gets his just reward someday. He is the most unChristian "Christian" EVER!!! You have made this forum unsanitary to the touch.

nicegirl 13 years, 4 months ago

When I was little I told my parents that I wanted to go to Electoral College when I grew up.

Larry 13 years, 4 months ago

If Bush wins this election or loses this election, I imagine the electoral college will be the deciding factor. I'll support it regardless of the result. However, without the electoral college, the highly populated liberal state of California will have a massive voice in future elections. Midwestern states would need every eligible person voting just to break even.

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 4 months ago

I know one thing.........

Before the 2000 election, I had never met a single person who whined, complained and/or "cared deeply/passionately" about what an unfair system the Electoral College is!


I mean before 2000, I don't ever recall being with a group of people somewhere (anywhere), and having someone speak up and say to me personally or to anyone else in the group......"Well, I'm not really sure who's gonna win the Super Bowl this year, but man!, that whole Electoral College-thing really bugs me! How about the rest of you?! Anyone else here as upset as I am about the "unfairness" of that system?! Anyone??!!"

And although I don't know anyone here on this post personally, I'd be willing to bet that many of you out there never said a word or gave more than a passing thought about it, either! And you know who you are!

As for myself, I've always believed that the "system" was fair. It protected the interests of smaller, less populated states. I never had a problem with it. Now you can disagree with me about "my belief"....that's fine! But personally, I was/have been aware of the Electoral College since I was a boy, and I remember hearing about what a close presidential election it was going to be in 1976 (Ford/Carter). I remember asking my father (Or was it my older brother?) what the heck is this thing called the Electoral College, anyway?

I guess that for far too long, as long as your guy won, or as long as the election itself wasn't quite so razor-thin like the last election was....then, hey!, who cares about some Electoral Colege, right? I'd be willing to bet that before 2000, most Americans thought that the Electoral College was probably just some small, wealthy liberal arts college located somewhere in New England! Massachusetts, maybe? Or is it in Vermont somewhere?

Don't get me wrong...........It's never to late to learn a new thing, and if you feel the need to change something, fine! But I have to say, that both the timing and the circumstances behind this particular question, amuses me, to say the least!

Savage 13 years, 4 months ago

I agree with hoof. Whatever happens as long as kerry wins means its a good system. That's why I can't stand lib idiots.

Lulu 13 years, 4 months ago

I cannot stand this fallacy called the Electoral College. Though I do not believe in competition, it gives away the presidency to the loser and this is not fair. It is the will of the people that counts.

Kerry/Edwards will win tomorrow or whenever they finish counting the illegal military ballots, and they will change this system called the Electoral College. THERE IS A BETTER WAY!!!!!!!!

remember_username 13 years, 4 months ago

Does anybody know how the electoral college started? Why would a popular vote be wrong? Why shouldn't more populated regions have more influence?

Kontum1972 13 years, 4 months ago

Richard Clark warned them Ossama was coming but nobody listened.....and the so-called americans who ran the flight schools these guy's trained at never got a clue....Terrorist: "oh ! i just want to learn how to take-off...i dont need to learn how to land big jet"....Duh!

Sure Abdulla!.....just hand over that big wad of cash....what ever u want! problem!

hmmm... no landing......whats this all about?

those clowns should be at Gitmo too! the towers were always a target after the first attack on them.....and nobody did a friggin thing ......

craigers 13 years, 4 months ago

Not everybody will be happy with the electoral college. In order to get a better representation, every state gets two senators, thus being equal. Then each state gets a certain number of house of representative votes based on population. It was a great compromise to try and keep both arguments happy. Equal representation for senate and population determines the electoral votes for the house. Both arguments have been dealt with and I can't remember the time frame, but I thought that they re-allocated the number of house seats each state gets based on population. If anybody knows how often they do that, please let me know.
On a side note, I am tellin you, if Kerry wins, this will lead our country to a time like it was in the days of Noah, and for anybody that knows what the Bible says, knows what that means. Vote GW!

Carmenilla 13 years, 4 months ago

Anyone that disagrees with you or defends themselves is a loser, I see. We really put up with too much inane crap from you. Blah!

Richard Heckler 13 years, 4 months ago

Many many people in Lawrence have discussed this matter of the electoral college over the years. I say do away with it. Let the majority vote be the rule...1vote per state. If the electoral college must stay split the vote accordingly.

States with larger populations have representation through the house and senate.

Let's have elections of house and senate reps every four years with a financial cap. No 527's or whatever. At the federal level no more than $1 million. Presidential campaigns no more than $25 million. No bogus outside groups spending money on anyone's campaign . The Bush campaign has taken mockery of the system to new heights which then forces other candidates to do the same. The candidate who spends the most usually wins.

Voters must assume some responsibility for this matter. Apparently it has been proven that we vote for names we see and/or hear the's the retailing of the system. Does this system provide the person for the job? Probaly not.

Elected officials spend on average 6 hours a day looking for money then more as they attend fund raising rallies. Votes in the house and senate are delayed because elected officials on both sides of the aisle are gone raising money. They do not have time to read with detail what is being put before them. As one legislator put it " I would be far more responsive to my constituents if so much time were not devoted to campaign finance". Large corporate type contributors expect returns on their dollar.

Why is it that the candidate who spends the most money wins? Isn't there something wrong with this picture?

The candidate must be held accountable for everything that is said or printed.

mrcairo 13 years, 4 months ago

I've only heard one good reason for the Electoral College. If the system is based on the popular vote only, the candidates will only give service to the states with huge populations. The others will get nada.

I'd really like to see all states give % won to the candidates.

David Ryan 13 years, 4 months ago

I'm a Kerry supporter, and I have no problems with the electoral college.

The people above who smear without evidence Kerry supporters ("Whatever happens as long as kerry wins means its a good system. That's why I can't stand lib idiots.") really need to go back to school -- or to school for the first time -- to learn how not to reach conclusions not based on facts.

That's called 'thinking.'

optimist 13 years, 4 months ago

The Electoral College was a compromise made due to the concentration of population in a few states. States with smaller populations were concerned that they wouldn't have a voice at the federal level if the president could win the election without them. If the popular vote elected the president directly both parties would cater to the needs of states such as NY, CA, FL, TX, IL, OH, PA. They could essentially ignore the needs of the rest of the states. Those states would have great roads and other infrastructure. These states would also have tremendous influence over tax policy. Policies would be made to benefit steel and coal in Pennsylvania, Citrus growers in Florida, Oil producers in Texas and banking and finance companies in New York and Illinois. The roads in Kansas and other states could not expect to get nearly a proportionate amount of money for our infrastructure needs despite the fact that we would undoubtedly pay a disproportionately higher amount of tax. Our industries could and probably would be ignored leading to loss of jobs and the destruction of our state economy.
There would be no equity between states. You would have the wealthy states and the poor states. We all know how politicians on both sides of the isle cater to special interests. Well voters are a special interest and if we don't have influence then special interests of Kansans will be lost in the shuffle.
Like the outcome of the election or not the Electoral College was designed to protect states like Kansas specifically. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it some day.

Carmenilla 13 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for that Biblical analogy....And if Bush gets re-elected you can call it the second coming.

I'll be so glad when its over tomorrow.

May truth and justice prevail. Oh wait!This is politics. Never mind..........

craigers 13 years, 4 months ago

Bob, thank you very much.

Carmenilla, mock me if you want but you just wait and see, but I just hope you don't wait too long to open your eyes.

Larry 13 years, 4 months ago

Good grief Merril. The 527's that support Kerry have spent way, way more money than the 527's that support Bush.

It seems to me that we are the envy of the world. Everyone wants to come here to live, to be educated, etc. I don't care what the media says or the liberals who want to change everything to benefit their agenda. Our constitution works, has always worked and we don't need to start changing things (like the electoral college) because the democrats lost the 2000 election. The 2000 election is why so many libs are ticked at W., not because of his leadership. They can make all the excuses they want, but they are still ticked off about 2000. That is why they won't vote for W.

Good day all!

jonas 13 years, 4 months ago

Tomorrow, tomorrow. The ads will stop tomorrow. Some heads will pop tomorrow. Tomorrow.

Tomorrow, tomorrow. The hell will end tomorrow. The lawyers descend tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar, some folks'll scream and holler. One way or the other, Tomorrow.

Richard Heckler 13 years, 4 months ago

Larry, Your comment on 527's may be correct. The Bush campaign however raised tons more than any presidential candidate in history during the first Bush run. The second time around they raised twice as much thus as I said taking a mockery of the system to new heights. The neo-conservative party(Bush is not a republican) is using the Wal Mart approach...tell people something often enough till they believe it even if that product is not the best on the is likely to sell.

I did not vote for GW Bush because he did not perform well in his first four years. As the Crawford, Texas newspaper noted if Bush had stated all of the things he truly intended to do he would not have been elected. The most important reason I did not vote for GW Bush...not a good president.

As for the electoral college no election should be decided by the supreme court as those are political appointments. Any discrepancies should be decided with the WHOLE STATE VOTING AGAIN. EVERYBODY GETS TO VOTE EVEN THOSE WHO DID NOT VOTE THE FIRST TIME. LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE. THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS FOR THE PEOPLE.

remember_username 13 years, 4 months ago

Thank you, Optimist for answering some off my questions. I understand now that the electoral college (EC) favors low population states. But can't it then be said that the EC is unfair to the more populated states? And since in an ideal democracy everone is supposed to have equal voice then the EC seems unfair to a majority of Americans (those living in populated CA, TX, NY etc.).

missmagoo 13 years, 4 months ago

w will win, the electoral college will stay, get over it!!

tell_it: shove_it

jonas 13 years, 4 months ago

Larry: Are you against the Gay-marriage amendment, then?

Remember-username: You could be correct, that the EC gives more power to small states and diverts it from the larger population. There are simply flaws in both possible systems. But it should be considered that the central govt. the founding fathers envisioned and designed the EC for was very different from what exists today. The original idea was to have a small, overseeing central govt. to provide direction and unity, but the states were more or less autonomous govts. in their own rights. As such, losing their voice somewhat through the EC would not have been as big a deal, as the presidential election would not have influenced them as much as it does today.

Craigers: That's just stupid. Kerry as president will not mean the apocolypse any more than Bush as president will mean the end of the world. The dialog at this point has gotten so distorted that it's cartoonish, and it drives me freakn nuts. This election is important (hell, all elections are important), but to think that the fate of civilization or humanity itself depends on one rich boy in an oval room instead of another is either foolish naivete or poisonous arrogance and egotism.

Carmenilla 13 years, 4 months ago

My eyes are open and that's why I am so disgusted. I can see how far we have fallen. Our political system will bring about the greatest division this country has ever seen. Or maybe it already has........

ms_canada 13 years, 4 months ago

You may wonder what a gal from Canada is doing on your chat line. What your gov. does affects not only you but the rest of the world especially Can. think of the Mad cow thing. I live in Alberta and see all the cows in the fields and the farmers going broke. And now you want our flu vaccine. You can have 100 doses for every cow you take, if I had any say in it. We eat the beef. So this EC is of interest to me. My opinion? I think it is unfair. I looked it up online so think I understand it. How can it be fair when some states still have a larger vote. It seems to me, from reading your comments, that you yanks are very fragmented. Are you all americans or just Louisianians, Californians or what?

craigers 13 years, 4 months ago

Jonas, I am just saying that Kerry will lead us to a more liberal situation where we allow gay marriages and much, much more. This whole thing leads me to believe that the end is near, that is not stupid. I never said that if Kerry is elected, then the world will end, now putting words in my mouth is ignorant as well. I do appreciate your comments and why does everybody always assume that standing on what you regard as truth to be arrogant or egotistical. Oh well, I guess your tolerance only goes so far, huh?

ms_canada 13 years, 4 months ago

hoofy and sponge bob - do you guys ever talk anything other than nonsense? do you ever read anything other than silly posts? have you ever wondered why americans are so disliked by the rest of the world? have you ever wondered why the muslims are causing so much trouble in many places in the world? no, you probably haven't, you are so wrapped up in your own silly warped world. try going on some other web sites and learning about all the troubles that other people have because of the pomposity of people like you two. bush, my foot, you were right, bob, i would vote for jk. bush is just a stooge for the evil dc read the book by john norris entitled, 'dick, the real president' and learn something before you spout out any more drivel. how's that for sarcasm!!!!

staff04 13 years, 4 months ago

hoof- D.C., not state. And I'm not working here because I can't debate. I would embarrass you.

jonas 13 years, 4 months ago

My comments were not questioning either your viewpoints on morality or ethics, or your convictions, but your beliefs that one man can ever steer an entire civilization into either salvation or damnation. Jesus may have been one, but Jesus isn't running for office. The nominees are politicians who, so far, have made a game out of distorting the truth to mislead us. Both of them. And that's beside the point. The point is that if you define a society, and it's direction off of ONE PERSON, you will be in error. Putting such importance behind the president, as well, is in direct contradiction to what the founders envisioned, and closer to the viewpoints the peasants and courtesans of the middle ages thought about their divinely appointed kings. If you think your ideology is so fragile that one appointment of one person would destroy it, then you are hopelessly naive. If you think that it's the only way we will survive, you are poisonously arrogant.

And don't try to dissemble now. I've read most of the stories in the Bible, and the story of Noah is the story of the extermination of most of humanity. That is what you are implying. I was not putting words into your mouth at all.

Hi_Jinks 13 years, 4 months ago

username,to address your comment about a "true democracy", consider this: The US has roughly 290 million people living in 50 states. If each one of the 50 states had roughly the same number of people living in it(say roughly 6 million living in each of the 50 states),then in theory, each state would be equal in terms of its "voting power". Each state would, no doubt, have its own unique concerns about such such things as the environment, jobs, etc..but, each state would have as "strong a voice as the next". Calif. and KS would be able to flex "equal muscle" with regards to presidential candidates. But as we all know (as did the founding fathers)each state does not have an equal population! They never had, and they never will! And many states are far more rural than urban.Some states have far more industry,environmental, elderly concerns than others. In many ways, each state is unique. So,the EC allows each state to be better recognized by the federal leaders. The EC allows the interests of each individual state, through each individual state's popular vote, to be put ahead of the individual voters of each individual state. Sounds contradictory perhaps, be here's another way of looking at it: Say tomorrow Kansas votes this way: Bush 500k Kerry 400k..well, the majority of the voters in Kansas believe that the best interests of Kansas lies with Bush! The EC interprets Kansas' presidential voting results as.."Kansas says Bush". Not "Bill from Topeka" says Bush. The STATE OF KANSAS says Bush!!The EC recognizes and solidifies the best interests of each individual state first and foremost. NOT EACH AND EVERY individual living in that state. Sort of like:it's the team that comes first, not each and every individual player on that team. A republic is made up of a loosely-fitted group of states or entities. The United States of America being a classic example! Each state or entity has a singular voice with relation to matters concerning the Union. The Electoral College solidifies the concept of states rights and the right of each individual state to be heard in an equitable manner. The net result is this: the EC backs up the notion of putting the individual interests of each of the 50 states before the interests of the citizens that live in those 50 states. We, the citizens of the United States, vote in a democratic fashion, to be sure! But some people fail to remember: we live in a republic! If America were made up entirely of cities alone,and not states,then popular voting for president would be the way to go! But darn it! Our country is broken up into 50 states! So when we vote for president,we elect our "electors" to represent (and vote for) our individual states! If you broke down the EC into district-by-district, as proposed in Colorado, (as opposed to "winner-take-all) you could still wind up with a situation like that of 2000! And some people would still be screaming about the "unfairness" of the EC!!!

Liberty 13 years, 4 months ago

Remember, the media says that you only have Bush or Kerry to choose from and the Electoral College is bad and everyone needs a vacination...

Thinking people will look at others such as the Constitution Party or Libertarian Party. They both are better choices than the media front runners.

The Electoral College is to protect lower population states and State's Rights in the Federal Government. Senator's were appointed and not popularly elected to protect State's Rights. "They" have tried to change our form of government into a democracy instead of a Republic (which we are) by popular election of Senators. The Constitution requires the Congress to give us a Republic form of government... In a democracy, if 49% are people of color, and 51% are not, the 51% can make illegal and vote down the very existance of the other group... Democracy is bad and that is what our government is trying to set up in Iraq. Should we support the creation of democracies? I think not. But we should support the electoral college system as it is an important part of freedom and our republic.

craigers 13 years, 4 months ago

No Jonas, I wasn't speaking of the story of Noah and the flood. I was talking about Matthew 24:37. I am saying that the appointment of a new leader with very liberal agendas will lead to a more liberal country. If there is a more conservative president the new laws that get passed generally are more conservative and if they aren't, then they have to go through more hoops by overriding the presidents veto. That is how the president can effect the general trend of the nation. Once again, one man, especially our presidential candidates, can't drive somebody to salvation or damnation and you are putting words in my mouth with that. I was just noting the trend of our country, not whether my fate depended on a man in the white house nor does anybody elses. Either way, since all I am is defending myself to somebody that obviously just wants to jump on just a simple comment, I am not going to say anything else. Maybe since you didn't know what part of the Bible I was refering to, then you might read Matthew 24 and see what I was saying. Just a simple observation was all. And I am sorry if my observation seems ignorant or naive to anybody.

ms_canada 13 years, 4 months ago

Well, Bob, you need to learn to read better and you need to learn some manners. You got a lot wrong from my note. Come on, I say, invade our country. What is it that you want the rest of the world to learn? That you are all aggressors? Actually I don't eat beef and don't get a flu shot. You are the one making a big deal out of my comments. I could have used any number of example of how what you guys do that affects us. You take our citizens who pass through your airport and ship them off to Syria. Is that a nice thing to do, I ask you. I bet you don't even know what I am talking about. Heh, Baton Rouge, I liked your city and your state. I am not a hockey fan so don't care either and I never called you guys ignorant. I think you are all quite smart actually and have family down south. AND I never told you how to vote. Did you get any hint from my note as to who I would vote for? No, you didn't. I wish you all the very best luck for tomorrow. You will need it. Heh, hoof, you better get some manners too.

Carmenilla 13 years, 4 months ago

Some of us (myself included) can run a little hot on these posts, ms_canada.... I mean tomorrow is the BIG DAY, after all!!!! Hopefully we will all go back to bickering about other BS when this election is done.

staff04 13 years, 4 months ago

Such bitter rhetoric considering that neither candidate is going to make any real changes...

proudvoter 13 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Ms_canada: Many of us in the states do forget that what happens here does impact the rest of the world. I was in Rome last month and there were signs everywhere that said "Stop Bush." and "No Oil for Blood"

We are all connected, and should vote in the best interest of the United States.

No matter how you vote, go get out and vote tomorrow -so the court does not need to choose a president for us.

staff04 13 years, 4 months ago

I've been watching this message board for several months now (I grew up in Lawrence and now work in Washington). Am I missing the joke here? I see better debate (and far more civil debate) on the Kansan website. Why is it that people like Bob and Hoof are always so disrespectful when someone posts something that they disagree with? People who respond the way they do give Kansas a bad name.

Carmenilla 13 years, 4 months ago

Please let him be struck by lightening (Hand of God?)......

Bugbear 13 years, 4 months ago

I just read on Yahoo! News that there's this thing called "The Cornhole Game" and apparently it's all the rage in the state of Ohio and elsewhere.

If it's the same "cornhole game" that I'm thinking of, well then I think that that's the kind of thing that would give any state a bad name!!--Much more so than constant bickering or name calling!

Carmenilla 13 years, 4 months ago

Hermanilla......You really got me there! Even though thats not who I'm voting for you still persist in your idiotic taunt. Who farted indeed! You stink......

Carmenilla 13 years, 4 months ago

He does just fine embarrassing himself. He's a big boy, let him do it himself!

staff04 13 years, 4 months ago

Bob- I'll gladly apologize for any unfair ideological mischaracterization--I only meant to comment on the tone of your posts.

Richard Heckler 13 years, 4 months ago

Ms Canada, Thanks for dropping by. Yep we need each other for the world to get along.

staff04 13 years, 4 months ago

But tomorrow, God willing, it will be over. One way or another. No more ads, no more silly legislation aimed at stirring up emotions and no more name calling (I hope).

ms_canada 13 years, 4 months ago

oh boy, i better make a correction on my last post before one of those erudite fellows castigates me thoroughly. got the name wrong the book is dick, the man who is president by john nichols. sorry about that mr. nichols

remember_username 13 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Hi_Jinks for your comments and I realize it helps us out in KS, if I was from TX, CA, or NY I would probably dislike the EC process as its like your vote doesn't count as much. In all honesty I was always uncomforable with it even before 2000 (been voting since '72) in spite of what others have been saying.

Staff04, I don't believe it will be over tommorrow but will drag on like the last one. People are so polarized right now I wouldn't be supprised if there are real injuries, maybe shootings, tomorrow. We don't even need terrorists to threaten us - we do well enough with that ourselves. Just read the posts.

Larry 13 years, 4 months ago

Jonas - don't spin here. The only reason for the marriage amendment is to protect the constitution from judges who like to voice their own opinions when making rulings. Does that answer you question? As for the importance of this election - I agree with Craiger - a win for Kerry will be a huge problem for future generations (morally). With Kerry's voting record, a Kerry victory makes me think of Sodom and Gomorrah.

proudwater - Thanks to the media, the world hates Bush. Remember, the rest of the world was ticked off at the USA because we took TOO long to get involved in WW II. Only after Japan forced us in, did we get involved. Once we joined, we saved the rest of the worlds rear. Then some idiot has the nerve to tell us that our military is too big! What is too big? How many wars have we stopped because of the size and strength of our military?

Ms. Canada - I've been to Canada as well. Beautiful country! Yes -I agree that what we do indeed affects the rest of the world. However, it is our military that keeps this world from turning into chaos. Although I often disagree with mrcairo, carmenilla and (know it appears) Jonas, I would never wish them harm and would always defend their right to disagree and debate. The fact is, America sends more money to third world nation than Canada and most of Europe combined. We rebuilt countries after WW II (a war that we were pulled into) and then proceeded to allow those countries to skip payment on their debt at the cost of American taxpayers. Your damn right WW II vets and many other Americans are tired of the rest of the world using us when their backs are to the wall but ridiculing us at all other times.

As for the rest of you - look in the history books. It was around 1934 that Germany (Lutheran Germany) had a man named Adolf Hitler as chancellor. People started preaching "separation of church and state" in Germany and the next thing you know, we got WW II. We don't want that in America and Christians are finally making a stand.

Staff04 - I love to debate. Since you obviously can debate (since you're in D.C. and all), let us have a debate. Give me some good reasons as to why I should vote for John Kerry! If you can truly debate, you'll have reasons regardless as to whether you plan on voting for him.

Time to break for dinner! It has been a long day! Oh - by the way ms canada - I have a nice T-bone ready to grill tomorrow night (just in case I have reason to celebrate - AKA - victory for W.) and I have a can of tuna just in case too many Americans let the press do their thinking.

jonas 13 years, 4 months ago

It answers my question, but I don't see why you call it spin. Nor do I quite understand how the constitution needs to be protected from gay marriage. Personally, it seems foolish that the constitution should have anything to do with marriage at all.

Same for our government.

Larry 13 years, 4 months ago

Jonas - the constitution not only ensures the rights of the people, it also keeps us in check. Isn't it ironic that people want parts of "separation of church and state", but not all of it. Where do you think murder and theft come from? You guessed it - right out of the Bible. Heck, lets not stop at homosexuality, let get rid of laws against murder and theft as well.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.