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Electoral system needs to be changed in U. S.

Allen Lottinger -   Feb 28, 2008

Itís high time the U. S. changes its way of electing our President and Vice President. This election season is enough to tell us why.

Maybe it makes a good show and gives us plenty of time to consider the issues. But our electoral caucus-primary system canít be called an exercise in democracy.

As we recall, Bill Clinton was elected by a minority of votes. And our present President did not even get a plurality of the votes in his first time around.

Granted, it gives smaller states like Iowa and New Hampshire a chance to get some attention from the candidates. But people of the nation as a whole should count more than people of certain small states.

Louisiana has the best system for local and statewide elections. All of the candidates run against each other, regardless of party affiliations. And if no one gets a majority, the two top runners battle it out in a runoff and the winner is elected by a majority of the people, as he should be. Perhaps that is not the best system for a national election in a two-party country, however.

We understand that when our constitution was formed, there were some conditions that made holding a nationwide election difficult. Nationwide communication was the main one.

So the electoral system was developed where each state would elect electors that would all vote for one candidate. Even if 49 percent of the voters favored another one, a candidate with 51 percent of the vote would get all of the electoral votes from that state.

Besides, the number of electors a state has is not determined entirely by the number of people in it or its physical size. It is determined by the total number of congressmen and senators it elects. And the number of senators is the same for all states, regardless of population.

With such a system, one might say the people are not choosing their President and Vice President. The states are.
Maybe that would be fair if each state were the same size and had the same number of people. But they vary tremendously.

Aggravating the situation is the fact that the parties in each state choose delegates to their conventions to select their candidates for electors in different ways. Some name them in caucuses which for the most part are very undemocratic. Some elect them in primaries which are better. And some are super delegates, whatever that means, while others are just regular delegates.

The one redeeming factor is that this procedure takes a long time and candidates get to go around to the different states and scream out their messages so the people will understand what they will do or not do in Washington. But there has to be a better way to do it and still have time to get their points across.

Our electoral system needs changing and the next four years is the time to change it so we donít have to go through this again.

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