How The Electoral College Rigs Elections Against Us
by Fred Dungan
“U.S. politics is a beautiful fraud....” – Shirley Chisholm
Question: What is the oldest publicly funded college in the United States? Hint: It's a trick question. This college has no "smarts." In fact, it is safe to say that this college is to the science of mathematics what Pete Rose is to the game of baseball—a complete and total disgrace. Give up? Answer: It is the Electoral College, an institution which is definitely not interested in higher learning. But no matter how dumb the Electoral College is, it's a whole lot smarter than you and me, because, as taxpayers, we pay for it. Much like slavery, it is an unsavory compromise made by the Founding Fathers that has outlived its usefulness.
With the notable exception of Madison and Morris, the framers
of the Constitution didn't trust their fellow Americans to choose
a responsible leader. They argued back and forth about which was
the best method of disenfranchising the masses and settled on the
unwieldy mess described in Article II, Section I. Each state got
a number of votes (personified by electors) equal to the total of
its representatives and senators. How to choose the electors was
left up to the states. Some states decided to do it in the state
legislature, while others used something called a general ticket,
which can best be described as a winner-take-all popular vote. A
third method was to vote on electors by congressional districts.
None of these methods worked very well, even when modified by
the 12th Amendment. People were unhappy with voting for electors
and wanted to vote for who was actually running for president and
vice-president. Instead of listening to the voice of the people,
many state governments fraudulently deleted the names of electors
from the ballots to make it look like voters were voting directly
for the candidates. But they didn't really fool anybody and many
otherwise diligent people will tell you that the reason that they
don't bother to go to the polls on election day is that they know
that their vote doesn't count.
When compared to the Electoral College, New York's Boss Tweed
and Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley were a couple of amateurs. Why
take a risk of going to jail for stuffing ballot boxes? The best
way to rig elections is to do it legally.
Forget all that mandate-of-the-people election day propaganda
on network television—what you don't see is what hurts you. On
the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, electors
meet in their respective state capitals to vote for president and
vice-president. They are not sworn to ratify the people's choice
and have been known to change their minds at the last minute. To
decrease the chance of having a president and vice-president from
the same state, at least one of the candidates for whom they vote
must not reside in the elector's state. Certified lists of votes
cast for the two offices are then transmitted to the president of
the United States Senate. Finally, on the following January 6th,
the president of the Senate opens the certificates during a joint
session of Congress, and the votes are counted. Needless to say,
this is a far cry from what they tell us in the press.
The Electoral College is deeply entrenched. Nothing short of
a constitutional amendment could get rid of it. But an amendment
would have to be ratified by three fourths of the states and this
is unlikely to occur because small states (of which there are 39)
have a proportional advantage under the Electoral College system.
Although California's population is 68 times larger than that
of Wyoming, California only gets 18 times as many electoral votes
as Wyoming. Question: What kind of system gives more than three
times as much clout to the voters of one state than to the voters
of another state? Answer: An extremely skewed system that makes
a mockery out of the cherished principle of one man, one vote.
An amendment (Senate Joint Resolution 56) recently introduced
in the Senate by Dick Durbin (Democrat-Illinois) seeks to abolish
the Electoral College and provide for the direct popular election
of the President and Vice-President. Passed by a two thirds vote
in the Senate and the House of Representatives, it now goes on
to the states for their consideration. This particular amendment
also provides for a runoff election if no candidate receives more
than 40 percent of the popular vote.
In the 1992 election, third party candidate Ross Perot almost
succeeded in keeping the other candidates from getting a majority
of electors. Should that ever happen again (the last time was in
1824 in the race between Jackson and John Quincy Adams), then the
election would be decided by the House of Representatives.
The quirky disputed outcome of the 2000 presidential election
screams for abolition of the Electoral College. What could argue
more against a way of doing something than that after two hundred
years of modifications it still doesn't work right? If it was an
aircraft design, it would have been discarded after the second or
third crash. Is the fate of our nation with all of us aboard
less important than a 747 or DC-10?
This article was taken from Chapter 10 of Bushwhacked by Fred Dungan. To get the complete story click here.
This page last modified on December 2, 2006.