electoral college

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India: How India picks its President, explained | Hindustan Times

If you haven’t decided whom to vote for in the upcoming election for the next President of India – to be held on July 17 – don’t worry. Unless you’re an MP or an MLA, you don’t get to vote. Unlike most of India’s elected representatives, who must battle it out for citizens’ votes, the President of India is instead chosen by an electoral college. The electoral college comprises the elected members of the Parliament (MPs) and state legislative assemblies (MLAs). Nominated members are, like the rest of us, unable to vote. There are 4,986 electors in the electoral college: 4,120 MLAs and 776 MPs. In normal elections, everyone’s vote is counted equally. In a presidential election, however, electors’ votes are worth more or less depending upon their job titles. In general, MPs’ votes are worth more than MLAs’, and MLAs from bigger states count more than those from smaller ones. The total value adds to10,98,903. Read More

Colorado: Remember the faithless electors? Colorado secretary of state wants to bolster rules banning them | Denver Post

Nearly six months after the Colorado statehouse became the unlikely stage for a dramatic attempt to deny Donald Trump the presidency, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams is looking to prevent a repeat performance of last year’s Electoral College theatrics. A proposed policy change would require Colorado presidential electors to take an oath swearing to back the winner of the state’s popular vote or be replaced by someone who will. The rule parallels an emergency protocol adopted in December that was aimed at defusing a planned Electoral College revolt led in part by Colorado’s Democratic electors. Read More

Colorado: Secretary of State on 2016 Electoral College vote: ‘They’re investigating’ | The Colorado Independent

“They’re investigating.” That’s what Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said this week about the state attorney general’s office and a probe into what happened during Colorado’s Electoral College vote last year— four months after it took place. On Dec. 19, 2016, during a traditional ceremony where the state’s nine national electors cast their official votes for president, one of them, Micheal Baca, did not cast his for Colorado’s popular vote-getter Hillary Clinton, and was stripped of his duties and replaced. Read More

Nebraska: Bill to make Nebraska’s Electoral College votes winner-take-all is headed to Legislature floor | Omaha World-Herald

Nebraska lawmakers may soon debate a familiar effort to return the state to a winner-take-all system for awarding presidential electors. The Legislature’s Government, Military and Veterans Affairs Committee voted Tuesday to advance Legislative Bill 25 to the floor. State Sen. John Murante of Gretna, the bill’s sponsor, said he will attempt to attach the proposal to another bill so it can still be debated in the waning weeks of the legislative session. Republican members of the officially nonpartisan Legislature have tried repeatedly to end Nebraska’s system of splitting its three Electoral College votes based upon the winner in each congressional district. Votes on the issue have largely fallen along party lines, with primarily Democrats voting against. Read More

National: Lessons from 2016: Try same-day voter registration, rethink Electoral College, report says | Philadelphia Inquirer

States with the highest voter turnout in 2016 offered same-day registration or were targeted battlegrounds in the tight presidential election, according to an analysis released Thursday by Nonprofit VOTE and the U.S. Elections Project. The six highest-ranking states have rules that allow eligible voters to register at the polls or update their information there before casting a ballot. In order, they were: Minnesota (74.8 percent), Maine (72.8 percent), New Hampshire (72.5 percent), Colorado (72.1 percent), Wisconsin (70.5 percent), and Iowa (69 percent). All but Minnesota, the leader for the second presidential election in a row, also were targeted by the presidential candidates. This was the first report on 2016 turnout to be based on certified election returns.  Read More

New Mexico: Senate approves popular vote for presidency on 26-16 vote | Albuquerque Journal

Fresh off a divisive election season, the Senate on Monday approved legislation adding New Mexico to an interstate compact aimed at guaranteeing the president – in future elections – would be elected by national popular vote. The measure, Senate Bill 42, passed the chamber on a party-line 26-16 vote, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed, and now moves on to the House. “By doing our part to move toward a national popular vote, we can begin the process of regaining the voters’ trust in our elections and ensure their voices are equal to every voter across the country,” said Sen. Mimi Stewart, D-Albuquerque, the bill’s sponsor. However, several Republican critics of the legislation accused Democrats of pushing the change in response to President Donald Trump’s victory. “Just because we didn’t get our way means we pout and change the entire system,” complained Sen. Cliff Pirtle, R-Roswell. Read More

National: Awarding Electoral Votes by District a Temptation for GOP | New York Magazine

You might think Republicans would be entirely satisfied with an Electoral College system that has twice in the last five elections elevated a fellow party-member to the presidency despite a loss in the national popular vote. But GOP legislators in Virginia and Minnesota are reviving pre-2016 legislation designed to emulate Maine and Nebraska in awarding Electoral College votes by congressional district rather than statewide vote totals. The ostensible rationale for these proposals is to provide representation in the Electoral College for regions that are outvoted at the state level by urban areas like Northern Virginia. But it’s really a hobbyhorse for state lawmakers who control states the other party typically carries at the presidential level. Indeed, Virginia toyed with such legislation shortly after the 2012 elections, along with Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. What these states had in common at the time was Republican “trifecta” control of state governments in states that had voted for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. Not coincidentally, such a system would have awarded the presidency to Romney, who won 226 House districts against Obama’s 209 (Romney also won 28 states to Obama’s 22, which under the system Republicans are pushing, would have given statewide winners two bonus EVs). Read More

Virginia: After Clinton wins Virginia, state Republicans try to change how votes are tallied | The Washington Post

A bill advancing in the Virginia House of Representatives would end the familiar “winner take all” system of awarding the state’s presidential electoral votes and replace it with a system to award electoral votes by congressional district, similar to what’s currently done in Maine and Nebraska. The goal is a noble one. Under the winner take all system, the votes of people who opted for a candidate other than the statewide winner are quite literally not counted when the electoral college convenes in December. If votes were allocated by congressional district, the final electoral vote tally could more closely represent the statewide popular vote mix. In 2016, for instance, Hillary Clinton won 49.8 percent of Virginia’s popular vote but 100 percent of its 13 electoral votes. Had those votes been allocated by congressional district instead, Clinton would have received only 7 while Trump got 6. Read More

National: International observers recommend changes to U.S. electoral system | McClatchy

On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, a group of international election experts who observed the Nov. 8 election have suggested overhauling the United States’ “particularly unique” Electoral College system, which gave Trump the presidency. The changes, the group from the Organization of American States said, should be made to keep candidates from focusing just on battleground states. The group also raised concerns about the rise in polarizing and divisive rhetoric in U.S. campaigning and criticized Trump for making threats to restrict journalists’ access and for threatening legal action against them for expressing their views. The group’s report noted the claims of Russian interference in the election, but made no assessment of their accuracy or impact on the outcome. The report was similar in tone to those that U.S. observers make on elections in foreign nations and was noteworthy primarily because it was the first time OAS experts had monitored a U.S. election – something that resonated deeply in Latin America, where the United States has long advocated OAS monitoring for other nations. Read More

Editorials: The Rules of the Game: A New Electoral System | Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen/The New York Review of Books

Americans have been using essentially the same rules to elect presidents since the beginning of the Republic. In the general election, each voter chooses one candidate; each state (with two current exceptions) awards all its Electoral College votes to the candidate chosen by the largest number of voters (not necessarily a majority) in that state; and the president-elect is the candidate with a majority of Electoral College votes. Primary elections for president have also remained largely unchanged since they replaced dealings in a “smoke-filled room” as the principal method for selecting Democratic and Republican nominees. In each state, every voter votes for one candidate. In some states, the delegates to the national convention are all pledged to support the candidate getting a plurality of votes (again, possibly less than a majority). In others, delegates are assigned in proportion to the total votes of the candidates. These rules are deeply flawed. For example, candidates A and B may each be more popular than C (in the sense that either would beat C in a head-to-head contest), but nevertheless each may lose to C if they both run. The system therefore fails to reflect voters’ preferences adequately. It also aggravates political polarization, gives citizens too few political options, and makes candidates spend most of their campaign time seeking voters in swing states rather than addressing the country at large.There are several remedies. Perhaps in order of increasing chance of adoption, they are: (1) to elect the president by the national popular vote instead of the Electoral College; (2) to choose the winner in the general election according to the preferences of a majority of voters rather than a mere plurality, either nationally or by state; and, easiest of all, (3) to substitute majority for plurality rule in state primaries. Read More