A Fair US Election…

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OK – the US system is flawed – FTTP in states means that only a dozen or so states matter each time. So make it fairer:

You could just count all the votes ? (far too simple)
Or perhaps recognise “states rights”

The electoral college system gives a boost to small states by giving a minimum of two electoral votes before proportionality kicks in….first past the post awards all to the winner however. So if we keep the bias in favour of small states but award each state’s votes in proportion what do we get?
Daft format but follow the drift….

State, College, Winner, Votes(O.R), Percentage, Proportional College (O.R)
Alabama 9 Romney 794,428 1,254,214 39% 61% 3 6
Alaska 3 Romney 122,533 164,599 43% 57% 1 2
Arizona 11 Romney 1,025,232 1,233,654 45% 55% 5 6
Arkansas 6 Romney 394,409 647,744 38% 62% 2 4
California 55 Obama 7,466,833 4,698,994 61% 39% 34 21
Colorado 9 Obama 1,305,273 1,166,117 53% 47% 5 4
Connecticut 7 Obama 912,531 631,432 59% 41% 4 3
Delaware 3 Obama 242,584 165,484 59% 41% 2 1
District of ColumbiaDistrict of Columbia 3 Obama 233,059 18,733 93% 7% 3 0
Florida 29 Obama 4,237,756 4,163,447 50% 50% 15 14
Georgia 16 Romney 1,773,827 2,078,688 46% 54% 7 9
Hawaii 4 Obama 306,658 121,015 72% 28% 3 1
Idaho 4 Romney 212,787 420,911 34% 66% 1 3
Illinois 20 Obama 3,016,901 2,132,997 59% 41% 12 8
Indiana 11 Romney 1,152,864 1,420,508 45% 55% 5 6
Iowa 6 Obama 822,523 730,593 53% 47% 3 3
Kansas 6 Romney 427,918 678,719 39% 61% 2 4
Kentucky 8 Romney 679,364 1,087,150 38% 62% 3 5
Louisiana 8 Romney 809,141 1,152,262 41% 59% 3 5
Maine 4 Obama 397,754 290,437 58% 42% 2 2
Maryland 10 Obama 1,677,844 971,869 63% 37% 6 4
Massachusetts 11 Obama 1,901,276 1,178,245 62% 38% 7 4
Michigan 16 Obama 2,561,911 2,112,673 55% 45% 9 7
Minnesota 10 Obama 1,547,668 1,321,575 54% 46% 5 5
Mississippi 6 Romney 557,349 707,532 44% 56% 3 3
Missouri 10 Romney 1,220,699 1,480,708 45% 55% 5 5
Montana 3 Romney 201,839 267,928 43% 57% 1 2
Nebraska 5 Romney 301,694 475,256 39% 61% 2 3
Nevada 6 Obama 531,373 463,567 53% 47% 3 3
New Hampshire 4 Obama 369,561 329,918 53% 47% 2 2
New Jersey 14 Obama 2,005,212 1,419,008 59% 41% 8 6
New Mexico 5 Obama 415,140 335,593 55% 45% 3 2
New York 29 Obama 3,875,826 2,226,637 64% 36% 18 11
North Carolina 15 Romney 2,178,391 2,270,395 49% 51% 7 8
North Dakota 3 Romney 124,966 188,320 40% 60% 1 2
Ohio 18 Obama 2,707,566 2,603,722 51% 49% 9 9
Oklahoma 7 Romney 443,547 891,325 33% 67% 2 5
Oregon 7 Obama 963,569 751,055 56% 44% 4 3
Pennsylvania 20 Obama 2,937,135 2,654,895 53% 47% 11 9
Rhode Island 4 Obama 279,677 157,204 64% 36% 3 1
South Carolina 9 Romney 865,941 1,071,645 45% 55% 4 5
South Dakota 3 Romney 145,039 210,610 41% 59% 1 2
Tennessee 11 Romney 959,054 1,459,965 40% 60% 4 7
Texas 38 Romney 3,305,242 4,566,172 42% 58% 16 22
Utah 6 Romney 250,012 731,891 25% 75% 2 4
Vermont 3 Obama 199,239 92,698 68% 32% 2 1
Virginia 13 Obama 1,971,820 1,822,522 52% 48% 7 6
Washington 12 Obama 1,747,342 1,286,258 58% 42% 7 5
West Virginia 5 Romney 234,925 412,406 36% 64% 2 3
Wisconsin 10 Obama 1,613,950 1,408,746 53% 47% 5 5
Wyoming 3 Romney 69,286 170,962 29% 71% 1 2

Total 275 263
51% 49%

So a far bit closer that the 332 to 206 it ended up….and a little bit more exciting….and perhaps a little fairer?

  • Drumlins Rock

    like the idea Dewi, just checked, the popular vote was 50.5% Obama to 48% Romney, so pretty close to that.

  • Pete Baker

    “and perhaps a little fairer?”

    Dewi

    You’d have to go through all previous results and assess those outcomes under your proposed system before coming to a conclusion on that.

    Some background on the electoral system and pledged, and unpledged, electors. Maine and Nebraska appear to be different, btw.

    “and a little bit more exciting….”

    Well, the Electoral College vote is itself FPTP. The ultimate division of those votes doesn’t really have any further meaning.

    And I can see a valid Federalist argument against the subsuming of any particular State’s vote into the need for a claim to popular [centralised] authority in the election of a President of the United States.

  • Ruarai

    It’s a hot topic stateside but may I suggest a massive gap in your analysis here Dewi.

    You cannot assume that the turn-out numbers under the present system are applicable to what would happen if we moved to ‘all votes count proportionally’ (within each state) and away from the current FPTP/winner takes all (within each state).

    Why? Because, as is well documented, current turn-out incentives are heavily affected and shaped in many states by calculations produced by the current FPTP system. Many voters don’t ‘need’ to vote as their guy is a cert while many others need not bother since theirs has no chance. Change the set-up and the incentives for voting turnout change considerably – but (and because of that) not necessarily the overall results, so your current turn-out numbers are not so relevant and are even misleading, no?

    2. You need to make a stronger case for why the status quo is flawed rather than simply asserting so. For instance, are you identifying a flaw based on a break down in the constitutional intentions or a suggesting a flaw with the constitutional intentions, or both, or neither?

    Likewise, suggesting a change must be done in the context of justifying how it would work in practice, factoring in the new turn-out incentives (good luck), by either basing your ustification on an endorsement to constitutional intent or by making your case (very hard) for abandoning constitutional intent.

    3. The current weakness is surely more in House set-up where Democrats won the overall turnout by over 500,000 – and the number could yet rise to 1,000,000 – yet, due to Gerrymandering, Republics while losing seats retained control. Indeed, Gerrymandering means the GOP could continue to have a lock on the house despite ‘losing’ House election for the next 10 years.

    Even here, is this an objective flaw, a flaw according to constitutional intent premises, simply a grip by Democrats who have won the popular vote yet retain minority status…etc, etc? Justification premises are crucial here, especially considering the careful complexity the framers baked into the system to avoid easy dominance of many branches of government simultaneously. The determination of the American Founders to restrain and check and obstruct simple majoritarianism and populism is the starting point for this whole conversation rather than the turn out of a recent election that, despite overall numbers, delivered precisely the checked and balanced outcome they aimed for.

  • Drumlins Rock

    introduce STV all round :)

  • Framer

    The Benghazi reality is beginning to emerge:

    Republicans argued that the Obama administration tried to play down the terrorist angle in its initial comments to avoid undermining the president’s claims of success in fighting al-Qaeda in the run-up to the November 6 election.

    However Susan Rice (UN Ambassador) issued a statement today saying: ‘We explained that the talking points provided by the intelligence community, and the initial assessment upon which they were based, were incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.’

    ‘While, we certainly wish that we had had perfect information just days after the terrorist attack, as is often the case, the intelligence assessment has evolved,’ she said. [What a whopper!]

    ‘We stressed that neither I nor anyone else in the Administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process.’

    Maybe Hillary Clinton wont be getting a replacement after all.

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    CGP Grey has some terrific videos on these and related topics on voting systems.

    I highly recommend a perusal of any or all of these:

    For electoral college:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUS9mM8Xbbw&feature=relmfu

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wC42HgLA4k&feature=fvwrel

    For voting systems:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7tWHJfhiyo

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Y3jE3B8HsE&feature=fvwrel

  • Drumlins Rock

    thanks charlie, just wasted half a morning watching those yourube videos!

  • Kevsterino

    I don’t have any problem with the Electoral College status quo. Hell, I grew up with it and I think it works pretty well. However, the way the politicos manipulate the boundaries of districts for the House of Representatives is a longtime pet peeve. I would love to see it change.

  • Dewi

    Couple of things:

    To Pete

    “Well, the Electoral College vote is itself FPTP. The ultimate division of those votes doesn’t really have any further meaning.”

    Of course, but the division of EC votes determines the winner of course. Each vote in eacf state, battlegroud or not, would count. The election would be national but retain a small discrimination in favour of small states.

    Ruarai
    “You cannot assume that the turn-out numbers under the present system are applicable to what would happen if we moved to ‘all votes count proportionally’ (within each state) and away from the current FPTP/winner takes all (within each state).”

    Correct – however the state college numbers apply to population not turnout and will remain constant. would state turnout in “safe” states change under this syste. Yes – which is the point – greater participation would be a good thing.

    “You need to make a stronger case for why the status quo is flawed rather than simply asserting so. For instance, are you identifying a flaw based on a break down in the constitutional intentions or a suggesting a flaw with the constitutional intentions, or both, or neither?”

    Neither – the flaw is the disproportionate influence of people in swing states compared to the majority who live in safe seats.

    As for the points about gerrymandering I couldn’t agree more..

  • Charlie Sheens PR guru

    haha,

    thanks DR. I think they do hit the spot on all the nuances. He has been planning for months to make an STV video but hasn’t got round to it. Dare I say it, I think we have the best voting system available.