Thursday, November 06, 2008

More about the EC

Alright... I guess I have become obsessed with this whole Electoral College thing. I now know a bit more about the EC. I do not know a whole lot more, but some.

One thing that I did know yesterday, but did not mention in my blog entry, is that 2 states, Nebraska and Maine are not "winner take all". They have a system where two of the EC Reps are based on state-wide voting and the others are based on the Congressional districts. I guess that matches how they vote for the House and the Senate. According to my research, neither state has actually split the vote based on this system. Every other state gives all their Electoral votes to whoever wins the state.

Colorado has also proposed changing their system to split their votes based on a percentage of the popular vote. I do not think this will ever pass, because it makes Colorado less relevant in the whole presidential race. It would always (almost always) go 5 to 4, so no matter how hard a candidate campaigns in Colorado, the best they would hope for is a two vote swing. Personally, I think this is a great idea, but only if all the states (or at least the big ones with more than 3 or 4 votes) agree to do the same thing.

In regards as to whether or not a EC Rep has ever voted against their "pledge", the answer is yes. My dad left a comment on my last blog "338 to 161" pointing out that a Minnesota Electoral College Rep voted for Edwards for both president and vp. It is true, you can see it here: . I want to know who is was and why they did that. That seems to me like some sort of careless mistake, but I do not know. It was one of these people:
  • Sonja Berg
  • Vi Grooms-Alban
  • Matthew Little
  • Michael Meuers
  • Tim O'Brien
  • Lil Ortendahl
  • Everett Pettiford
  • Jean Schiebel
  • Frank Simon
  • Chandler Harrison Stevens
But I do not know which one did it. If you know, please tell me. If you know why she did it (I am assuming it has to be one of the women ... or maybe the guy named Chandler), I really want to know.

In 2000, Barbara Lett-Simmons for DC cast a blank ballot for President and Vice President. I saw somewhere that she did this in protest that DC has no representation in Congress. If this is the case, it does not seem to have been a very effective protest. I do agree with her that it is unfair that this is the case.

Looking back in history (thanks to my dad's reference to the url), I found that:
  • In 1988, one rep for West Virginia ignored his (or her) pledge by voting for Lloyd Bentsen for President and Michael Dukakis for V.P.
  • In 1984, one rep for Washington voted for Ronald Reagan for President.
  • In 1972, one rep from Virginia voted for the ticket: John Hospers and Theodora Nathan.
  • In 1960 6 reps from Alabama voted for the ticket: Harry Byrd and Strom Thurmond despite the fact that the state voted for JFK.
  • In 1956, 1 Alabama rep voted against the state as well.
I did not look back much further. I do not why most of these people ignored their pledge, but based on this data, I would say that Electoral Voters can do whatever the hell they want to do. But, it does depend on the laws of the state you live in.

Electors in these States are not bound by State Law to cast their vote for a specific candidate:
  • ARIZONA - 10 Electoral Votes
  • ARKANSAS - 6 Electoral Votes
  • DELAWARE - 3 Electoral Votes
  • GEORGIA - 15 Electoral Votes
  • IDAHO - 4 Electoral Votes
  • ILLINOIS - 21 Electoral Votes
  • INDIANA - 11 Electoral Votes
  • IOWA - 7 Electoral Votes
  • KANSAS - 6 Electoral Votes
  • KENTUCKY - 8 Electoral Votes
  • LOUISIANA - 9 Electoral Votes
  • MINNESOTA - 10 Electoral Votes
  • MISSOURI - 11 Electoral Votes
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE - 4 Electoral Votes
  • NEW JERSEY - 15 Electoral Votes
  • NEW YORK - 31 Electoral Votes
  • NORTH DAKOTA - 3 Electoral Votes
  • PENNSYLVANIA - 21 Electoral Votes
  • RHODE ISLAND - 4 Electoral Votes
  • SOUTH DAKOTA - 3 Electoral Votes
  • TENNESSEE - 11 Electoral Votes
  • TEXAS - 34 Electoral Votes
  • UTAH - 5 Electoral Votes
  • WEST VIRGINIA - 5 Electoral Votes
As far as punishment for breaking the law, obviously, this varies by state as well. I tried to figure out the penalty for Colorado, but was unable to find a reference that I understood.

There is all kinds of information on the EC at:

My sister left a comment on my last blog ("338 to 161") basically asking "why do we still have an Electoral College". The quick, simple answer to that is that the Electoral College is in the Constitution of the United States and it is not easy to amend the U.S. Constitution. All it takes is agreement. Two thirds of both branches of Congress and then Three Quarters of the States have to agree. Getting that many people to agree on something that for the most part has remained unchanged since the founding founders wrote it down is not easy. Not only do you have to get agreement that the system should be changed, but also as to what it should be changed to.

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