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This is NOT the way to elect a president by popular vote
Posted by on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Maryland has become the first state in the nation to join an “interstate compact” that would, in theory, guarantee an Electoral College majority to the winner of the national popular vote. The compact takes effect if, and only if, 270 electoral votes’ worth of states sign up. If and when that happens, all of the “compact” states agree to pledge their electors to the nationwide winner, regardless of the states’ own tallies.

Having read up on the “interstate compact” plan for my Electoral College paper, let me just say, this is an unbelievably bad idea. Even if you support getting rid of the Electoral College and replacing it with a popular-vote system, this plan is a woefully inadequate and downright dangerous means of doing that. It will almost certainly lead to a major constitutional crisis in the event of a very close election.

If you want a direct popular election, you have to eliminate the Electoral College, not just circumvent it. More importantly, you have to eliminate it and replace it with something, namely an altogether new and unprecedented numerical organism called the “national popular vote.” Presently, there is no official accounting of the national popular vote — it is little more than an invention of the news media, and Dave Leip — and incredibly, the “interstate compact” plan doesn’t even attempt to remedy this glaring problem. Instead, it leaves the tallying up of the nationwide numbers to the individual states, meaning that if (or rather, when) a close national election leads to disputed tallies in multiple states, each “compact” state would have the responsibility of deciding which numbers from the disputed states to add into the tally. You could (or rather, would) have different states awarding their electors on the basis of different accountings of the national popular vote.

There is also no provision for a nationwide recount, even if the vote tally is Florida-close (a margin of less than 0.01%). And while the “compact” states might adopt laws agreeing to recount their own tallies when the national race is close, certainly the non-compact states won’t, so there is no possibility of an adequate recount in a race so close that it clearly requires one. The idiots at NationalPopularVote.com think this won’t be an issue unless there’s an election decided by “a few hundred or a few thousand votes out of 122,000,000“; apparently they don’t understand elementary math. You have to look at the percentages, not the raw totals. Any nationwide margin less than a couple hundred thousand votes (~0.2%) borders on a statistical tie, and if it’s less than 10,000 votes, it would be closer, in percentage terms, than Florida’s 537-vote margin in 2000. In either case, a national recount would indisputably be necessary. But under this system, it would not happen. (Just for perspective’s sake, many states require a recount in any statewide election where the margin is less than half a percent — 0.5%. The national popular vote tallies in 1880 and 1960 easily met that criteria, and 2000 was damn close to it.)

In addition, there’s a serious argument that the plan is unconstitutional on its face. My classmate Derek Muller wrote an excellent paper on this topic, which he recently uploaded to SSRN (though I can’t get it to download at the moment).

There are about a hundred other glaring, overwhelming, legitimacy-destroying, constitutional-crisis-creating problems with the “interstate compact” plan, but I don’t have the time or energy to go into them here at the moment. Of course, many more of them will be in my paper, which is still a work in progress. Hopefully I’ll be able to share it with y’all here, in some form, eventually. For now, let us all — Electoral College defenders and critics alike — please take a moment to shake our fists at Maryland, which has just agreed to a truly awful piece of legislation.




39 Comments on “This is NOT the way to elect a president by popular vote”

  1. Vicki from NJ Says:

    is this a belated April Fools joke?… no, seriously, tell me you’re joking.

  2. Brendan Loy Says:

    ‘Fraid not.

  3. Vicki from NJ Says:

    damn.

  4. JO Says:

    I’m curious if we would still be seeing this “interstate compact” push had Gore or Kerry won their respective elections?

    I’m curious if the NPV.com people are actually looking to figure out an alternative to the electoral college or if this is solely a reaction to the last elections.

  5. Joe Mama Says:

    Tom Smykowski: It was a “Jump to Conclusions” mat. You see, it would be this mat that you would put on the floor . . . and would have different CONCLUSIONS written on it that you could JUMP TO.

    Michael Bolton: That’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard in my life, Tom.

    Samir: Yes, this is horrible, this idea.

  6. JO Says:

    Having re-read my post, do you think I’m curious??

    Caveat: I’m not implying the NPV.com folks have an “agenda”. I am giving them the benefit of the doubt here and hoping they are doing this for non-political reasons.

  7. Brendan Loy Says:

    I dunno, JO, but if it’s a reaction to 2004, they’re even bigger idiots than I thought. Kerry was much, much closer to winning the electoral vote than he was to winning the popular vote.

  8. Angrier and Angrier Says:

    I heard about this. The odds are extremely remote this will be passed by enough states.

  9. Brendan Loy Says:

    Agreed, Angrier, but that’s no excuse for ignoring its glaring and dangerous deficiencies. What if the Electoral College produces another “runner-up winner” in 2008? Instead of turning to the constitutional amendment process, people might very well turn to this plan as an “easy way out.” In other words, “events on the ground” could increase those “extremely remote odds” you speak of. And then, God help us. This thing needs to be nipped in the bud now, before it gains any traction or momentum. It is a TERRIBLE, TERRIBLE PLAN. I can’t emphasize enough how awful it is. I mean, I was quite honestly stunned when I read its authors’ “answers” to the crucial questions about how it would handle close elections. I think we’re better off with the Electoral College than with a constitutional amendment creating direct popular election, but I could support the latter if it’s drafted properly, and I’d prefer it in a heartbeat over this shameful and dangerous nonsense.

  10. Angrier and Angrier Says:

    Unfortunately - or fortunately, based on one’s perspective - states have the right to pass stupid legislation. I do think, though, that this will be a hard sell in most other states.

  11. B. Minich Says:

    *Sigh*

    Once again, Maryland passes a really stupid law - and they don’t even have a governor in now who can point these things out. O’Malley is just going to agree to this crap that is produced here without a second thought.

  12. Derek Says:

    JO, NPV.com folks include Birch Bayh, who was pushing a constitutional amendment in the 70s to abolish the Electoral College. This isn’t a novelty. It’s a new solution to an old complaint, but it’s certainly latching onto the fury post-2000. The history of the Compact can be seen in my paper (not that I’m plugging it).

    Angrier, it’s remote, but not that remote. It passed in California last year, and Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed it. That would be 55 more votes right there if you had a different governor. Hawai’i (4) passed it, and it’s sitting on Governor Lingle’s desk. Arkansas (6) has passed it in one chamber, and Governor Beebe has said he’ll sign it. And, for what it’s worth, the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, among others, have already endorsed it.

  13. LaRev Says:

    When in Rome, start having your way with the Constitution.

    Aside from what happened in the last two elections, is a direct democratic vote for President really the thing we want? As American Idol shows, the American people have been given a democracy, and they don’t even know how to use it.
    There was the time in college when we started a grass-roots movement to write in Snoop as Sophmore class president, and he almost won. Smaller scale, sure, but anything that could lead to an idiot taking the elect…oh wait.

  14. Brendan Loy Says:

    While “the people can’t be trusted” is indeed one of the reasons the framers created the E.C., it is no longer a valid argument for keeping it, because what we have today is not an election insulated from the will of the people, but simply an election where the will of the people is filtered/distorted slightly by mathematical weighting and winner-take-all. Oh sure, technically, the electors could turn “faithless” en masse and choose someone without regard for the votes on Election Day, but in reality, that’s never going to happen because the electors are not “wise men” chosen because the people trust them to make a good decision (as the framers envisioned), they are partisan hacks chosen because of their loyalty to the party and the candidate. So the Electoral College cannot be defended on the basis that it prevents the stupid public from making a stupid choice, because it does not, in fact, do that. It simply jiggers the numbers.

    The Electoral College can, however, be defended on the basis of federalism, and the need to assemble a broad-based, not purely regional majority. That’s not the basis I’m defending it on, because I’m focusing on procedure rather than substance. But that’s a valid argument too.

  15. cdbavg400 Says:

    Just out of curiousity, are you a defender of the Electoral College, Mr. Loy? Why (or why not)? I’m not looking for an essay here; just the opinion of a semmingly logical, knowledgeable person.

  16. Brendan Loy Says:

    Here’s what I wrote at the end of the intro section of my paper, and it’s pretty much what I believe:

    As compared to the popular vote, the Electoral College will very occasionally, in a very close election, give us the “wrong” president. But it always gives us a president, and does so in a timely fashion, well before the January 20 inauguration. It may be unfashionable to defend a system that sometimes fails to accurately reflect the national popular will, but as long as inversions of the electoral and popular vote remain rare and limited to very close elections — ones in which the popular will is hardly overwhelming, and may indeed be quite unclear — this admittedly imperfect system is vastly preferable to the alternative. Whatever its abstract merits, the practical reality is that direct election by national popular vote could, in a razor-close election, produce a true legitimacy crisis that would threaten to seriously undermine the presidency itself.

  17. The Man Says:

    LaRev is correct in saying that the American people cannot handle democracy and gives a great example in stating this. My problem with this is not that it gives Americans the direct power of electing the President (something to which I am opposed), but because it is an egregious violation of the United States Constitution that denies the STATES the right to choose the nation’s chief executive. There is democracy within the states while maintaining a republican form of electing the President during these elections. This “Interstate Pact” would create much havoc on the political future of this nation.

  18. Joe Mama Says:

    Brendan,

    I like the end paragraph of the intro to your paper. The value of the Electoral College versus election of POTUS through a nat’l popular vote hit home for me after the 2000 election (and not because of the particular outcome). The Electoral College compartmentalizes the presidential election into 50 separate elections, thereby limiting any dubious goings on in a situation where the margin of victory is within the margin of error to individual states (in 2000, Florida). If POTUS were elected by a nat’l popular vote, there would be nothing to stop the kind of nightmare Florida scenario from spreading to precincts all across the country, where ever the candidate who was behind needs to plumb the inevitable voting irregularities to troll for more votes.

    Viva la Electoral College!

  19. Brendan Loy Says:

    Exactly, Joe Mama.

  20. texasyank Says:

    Bunch of Gore crybabies still whining about 2000.

    It makes me almost (ALMOST!) wish Kerry had won Ohio, so 2004 could have been 2000 in reverse and everyone could have been pissed

  21. Andrew Says:

    Brendan, are you trying to convince me there are dumber legislatures out there than California? It’s almost working….

  22. Alasdair Says:

    As a not-yet-citizen, one of the more impressive things about the US electoral set-up is the Electoral College … mostly, because it makes it *much* harder to ignore the smallest States electorates, since any one of them *could* tilt the Presidential Election result one way or the other … it provides a much-needed check and balance against mere populism … and it helps to ensure that a President has to have a reasonably broad base of support, both on the ‘issues’ and geographically …

    Brendan - I would also dispute your words that it “will very occasionally, in a very close election, give us the “wrong” president.” - by definition, whichever candidate gets the most Electoral College votes *is* the right President, cuz that’s the system under which Presidential Elections are run in this country …

    It would make as much sense to say that each House of Congress should be controlled by whichever party whose members got the most total votes nationwide, rather than by the party which got the most members elected …

  23. Brendan Loy Says:

    Actually Andrew, California’s legislature passed the interstate compact, but the Governator vetoed it. :)

  24. Brendan Loy Says:

    by definition, whichever candidate gets the most Electoral College votes *is* the right President, cuz that’s the system under which Presidential Elections are run in this country

    Alasdair, don’t be retarded. This argument is logically circular and thus entirely pointless and wrong. If the winner of the current system is always the right winner, “by definition,” then the current system cannot be criticized, ever. This same line of reasoning would apply to, say, a system where the president is appointed through Trial By Ordeal, just as much as it applies to the Electoral College. You can’t defend a system — any system — simply by saying, “It is what it is, and therefore it’s right.”

    Besides, I put the word “wrong” in scare-quotes, clearly implying that I wasn’t necessarily agreeing with those who claim the popular-vote runner-up is the “wrong” winner. I was merely acknowledging their argument, and saying, “but even though this is arguably true, you’re still wrong.” Surely a fair reading of my words makes that clear.

  25. Brendan Loy Says:

    A few other examples of your logic, as applied to situations where I think you’d reach a different conclusion:

    By definition, whenever a prosecutor charges someone with a crime, that *is* the right decision, cuz that’s the system under which people are charged with crimes in this country. (Please see: Mike Nifong, Patrick Fitzgerald.)

    By definition, whenever a jury convicts someone in a criminal case, they *are* guilty, cuz that’s the system under which guilt and innocence are determined in this country. (Please see: Scooter Libby.)

    By definition, whoever the Washington state elections board declares the winner *is* the right Governor, cuz that’s the system under which Washington Gubernatorial Elections are run in this country (please see: Christine Gregoire).

    So I guess we’ll never again see you blogging about how Nifong or Fitzgerald were “wrong” to prosecute their targets, or that the Libby jury was “wrong” to convinct, or that Washington’s governor was the “wrong” winner of that election.

  26. Todd Nicholson Says:

    Brendan, read Every Vote Equal. It answers your technical uestions — see www.everyvoteequal.com

    The current system is a disaster for a representative democracy. Our founders would be stunned that we had let states adopt a system (and yes,the current statewide “unit rule” system is basically Martin Van Buren’s system, not the founders) that made two-thirds of states, including nearly every small population state, absolutely, completely irrelevant.

    Some people posting messages here seem to think that popular election is a novelty. We use it for all of our elections. We elect all our governors by popular election, and by and large they’re a pretty good crew and take office in a timely way.

  27. Late Night Poster Says:

    Brendan,

    To your point included in your intro section:

    One thing worth considering is whether today’s (and past elections’) “national popular vote” is even a true representation of the popular vote. After all, we know that voter participation is substantially lower in today’s non-battleground states (eight percentage points on average in 2004) than in those that are closely divided. Therefore, I think it’s unfair and inaccurate to suggest that the Electoral College vs. popular vote winner will only “occasionally” give us the “wrong” president. Under the current system, the incentives for participation are dramatically different in the various states (we all know how much time/money/attention/advertising/organizing is done in battleground states while 2/3 of the states are wholly ignored). So we don’t really know what the oucome would be (or would have been in past years) if there was a true national popular vote without the EC.

    Under the National Popular Vote plan, or a new system of direct election created by constitutional amendment, the evidence is strong that we’d have higher participation and a better national sample of Americans participating, as every vote would indeed be equal.

    As for a “legitimacy crisis” created by a close election, I think that’s overstated in your argument. I’m more convinced by the NPV folks’ argument that a close election and/or crisis — and incentive for vote manipulation — is far greater when you have 51 separate elections than one large pool. Of course, we need to continue to improve the machinery of our elections. But that’s not enough to negate the need for an election where every vote is equal and, importantly, that every vote really does matter.

    –LNP

  28. Joe Loy Says:

    In arguing either For or Against the EC or the PV, a number of the previous Commenters are Missing Brendan’s main point ~ which is Not that the EC is preferable to the PV (though he thinks it probably Is), but rather that the proposed Interstate Compact (blessedly comprising, at the moment, Maryland only: the Intra-state compact :) is neither Fish nor Fowl: offering us the Head of the trout conjoined to the tail of the Chicken :}. To Wit: Himself ~ please re-read [emphases & interjections hereinbelow are Mine]:

    Even if you support getting rid of the Electoral College and replacing it with a popular-vote system, this plan is a woefully inadequate and downright dangerous means of doing that. It will almost certainly lead to a major constitutional crisis in the event of a very close election.

    If you want a direct popular election, you have to eliminate the Electoral College, not just circumvent it. More importantly, you have to eliminate it and replace it with something, namely an altogether new and unprecedented numerical organism called the “national popular vote.” Presently, there is no official accounting of the national popular vote — it is little more than an invention of the news media, and Dave Leip — and incredibly, the “interstate compact” plan doesn’t even attempt to remedy this glaring problem. [Because: it Can’t. / ~ the commentposter ] Instead, it leaves the tallying up of the nationwide numbers to the individual states [because: it Must. A mere interState compact, joined by {say} 30 states, Cannot create & empower the requisite new Federal elections bureaucracy. / ~ the commentposter], meaning that if (or rather, when) a close national election leads to disputed tallies in multiple states, each “compact” state would have the responsibility of deciding which numbers from the disputed states to add into the tally. You could (or rather, would) have different states awarding their electors on the basis of different accountings of the national popular vote.

    There is also no provision for a nationwide recount…

    IOW, if you truly want to Replace the EC with the PV, you Must do so in the only way that truly Does so: a Constitutional amendment, actually Specifying that the POTUS & VPOTUS shall henceforth be elected [no longer by the Electors but for the First time instead] by the People ~ and then, outlining [as the present Constitution does, re the Electors, and the Congressional fallback too] exactly How.

    I.e.: as always, folks, the Divil is in the Details.

  29. Anonymous Says:

    So how would a particular state have more than one tally of their poular vote?

    Presumeably, each state tallies its own vote totals in the final certification process. Why would states from this interstate compact decide to use some numbers from a state, numbers other than the official numbers the state itself certifies?

    You lost me there…

    And how would the state from the interstate compact come up with numbers other than the official ones from the states that have close votes?

  30. LaRev Says:

    Brendan-
    I think the issue in the 1780’s never was “the people can’t be trusted to know anything,” but rather, “The people can’t be trusted to inform themselves.” You would sure know more than I, but my take on the EC is that they are supposed to be the ones who can always stay informed. Now, of course, in the day of TV and Internet, it’s much easier for the public to be informed, which I imagine is the issue for EC opponents.
    I really don’t know what to think about this, honestly. In my mind, the Constitution was made to be changed. So in that sense, since we are in an age where the public can be informed, they should be trusted enough to inform themselves in a presidential election. On the other hand though, they haven’t yet shown that they can be trusted to vote, let alone cast an informed vote.
    I do know, though, that it’s ironic that this issue is being discussed in Maryland while just next door in DC, American citizens don’t even have an elector representing them.

  31. Brendan Loy Says:

    You’re right, La Rev, that was a big part of it. Another part is that the framers didn’t anticipate the rise of national political parties, but figured voters from each state would favor local candidates.

    Anonymous @ 6:00 AM, you left that comment at just the right time — I just finished writing a section of my paper about this very issue! Be gentle; it’s a first draft:

    The interstate compact plan could become truly nightmarish when the time comes to add up the votes, because there is no central authority to perform this task—it is necessarily left to the individual compact states—and thus there is no assurance that each compact state will award its electors on the basis of the same accounting of the national popular vote! Every Vote Equal, a book by the authors of the compact plan, is remarkably nonchalant in describing this task, arguing that each state’s task in “add[ing] together” all the results “to produce a national grand total…is, of course, the same adding-up process that the media, the political parties, and various watchdog groups already do on election night and in the days following each presidential election.” This comparison ignores one rather obvious difference: the stakes are considerably lower when the media “adds up” the totals, and nobody will sue them if they get it wrong, because the presidency does not hang in the balance.

    The specifics of the “adding up” process are outlined in the fourth and fifth clauses of article III of the compact:

    (III-4) At least six days before the day fixed by law for the meeting and voting by the presidential electors, each member state shall make a final determination of the number of popular votes cast in the state for each presidential slate and shall communicate an official statement of such determination within 24 hours to the chief election official of each other member state.

    (III-5) The chief election official of each member state shall treat as conclusive an official statement containing the number of popular votes in a state for each presidential slate made by the day established by federal law for making a state’s final determination conclusive as to the counting of electoral votes by Congress.

    The authors later explain, “This section makes each state’s (and, in particular, each non-member state’s) final determination of its popular vote … ‘conclusive’ when the chief election officials of the compact’s member states add up the national popular vote under the terms of the compact.” Leaving aside the not-insignificant question of where the member states will get the non-member states’ official returns from (the non-member states are not bound by the compact, and thus cannot be obligated to send them to member states), this explanation carries the unspoken assumption that there will not be any significant controversy about which vote tally constitutes each state’s “final determination of its popular vote.” This assumption is deeply flawed, as anyone who recalls the 2000 election knows well. The “final determination” of Florida’s election was still being litigated on the deadline day itself.

    As discussed earlier, a close popular vote election can be expected to produce much more litigation like Florida’s, because every state, every precinct is “in play” and relevant to the result. Imagine a scenario, not at all unlikely in a close election, in which 20 different states have contested recounts and down-to-the-wire litigation. Some might even have competing “official” counts—one certified by the governor and another by the secretary of state, perhaps, or one by the secretary and another by the legislature. It is unlikely all these disputes would be definitively resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court, as Florida’s was, since the states themselves would not be decisive to the Electoral College under the constitutional framework; their tallies would only be relevant under the interstate compact plan, which is a nonentity as far as the federal courts are concerned. So a wide range of legal issues presented by these various simultaneous controversies could land on the desk of each member state’s chief election official. The compact directs each member state to “treat as conclusive” each other state’s “official statement,” but what if different member states reach different conclusions about which “official” statement to accept? For that matter, what if a member state’s chief election official ignores the compact’s directive and relies upon a different count, other than the “official” one, perhaps a count that is more favorable to the official’s party? This might sound far-fetched, but consider the Florida scenario again: if Democratic election officials in other states had had the power to unilaterally “add in” the disallowed recount tallies from various Gore-friendly counties, instead of simply accepting Katherine Harris’s “official” version of the results, and so perhaps alter the outcome of the election, is it all that difficult to imagine, given the poisonous political atmosphere, that some might have done so? And who could stop them, under the compact system, or overrule their choice between dueling “official” versions?

    Presumably the state courts could stop them, potentially leading to a second, rapid-fire wave of litigation during the six-day window between the state certification and the electors’ meetings. This could create the bizarre spectacle of, for example, state courts in Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan and Connecticut simultaneously adjudicating cases relating to fact patterns in Texas or California. Each state court would have to individually—and quickly—reach a decision about which other states’ “official” returns to count. Although any blatant partisan vote grabs by state election officials would presumably be overturned, the various state courts could well reach divergent conclusions over genuinely disputed issues, opening the door for the nightmare scenario mentioned earlier: different compact states awarding their electoral votes to different ostensible “winners.”

  32. Anonymous Says:

    Brendan,

    If I had time to pore over your entry, I’d be in law school me own damn self!

    ;-)

  33. Brendan Loy Says:

    LOL

  34. Derek Says:

    One other interesting feature is, who counts as a voter? To take a simple example, we could consider felon voters. Maine and Vermont both permit felons in prison to vote; Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia disenfranchise felons for life. Who picks which votes count? Could States game the definitions of voters through lowering the age restrictions, altering felon voting rights, changing registration and identification processes, and so on with a hope to game the national system? It presents some very interesting questions in the long run.

  35. Kat Says:

    The worst things:
    1- This was not mentioned by any of the local news websites that I frequent (I am a resident of Baltimore)
    2- The first I heard of it was surfing MSNBC.COM. While I’m certainly not the most politically up-to-date person, I don’t live in a cave either. So much for asking the public what they want.

  36. Alasdair Says:

    OK - now I have the time to respond …

    Brendan - you - “Besides, I put the word “wrong” in scare-quotes, clearly implying that I wasn’t necessarily agreeing “ - did indeed use “scare-quotes”, which was more mustelid than I expect of you … so I responded to what you said as though it has been expressed as a valid debate point … I accept your response that you didn’t mean it to be a valid point …

    The examples you cite are an interesting collection of straw critters, none of which apply to me … (nor, interestingly enough, to our discussion) … still, in the spirit of discussion, let us pretend that you meant them to be debatable …

    When the Electoral College votes are tallied, to whom may anyone appeal to try to change the result ?

    When Nifong did his thing, while justice’s wheels ground exceedingly slowly, they still ground on, and the three have been declared innocent, not just still under the spectre of “insufficent evidence” …

    Libby’s jury found him guilty - and yet Libby’s appeal may well reverse that …

    The Washington State Election board, as far as I can tell, has been forced to admit to a number of things, after the fact, that could well have changed the election … but those who would have to enforce that support Mrs Gregoire, so nothing further will be done … does that make it “right” in *your* book ? When a non-citizen votes successfully, is that “right” in your book ? Cuz it ain’t right in *my* book, or I would have voted in the past election …

  37. David K. Says:

    The Washington State Election board, as far as I can tell, has been forced to admit to a number of things, after the fact, that could well have changed the election … but those who would have to enforce that support Mrs Gregoire, so nothing further will be done … does that make it “right” in *your* book ? When a non-citizen votes successfully, is that “right” in your book ? Cuz it ain’t right in *my* book, or I would have voted in the past election …

    1) Do you have proof that Gregoire got more supposedly illegal votes the Rossi? If not, then you are making baseless allegations
    2) All the recounts were either mandated by law or perfectly acceptable under the law
    3) No evidence whatsoever was found that King County did anything to influence the election
    4) The results of this election were within, so vastly within the statistical margin of error that we could count and recount them a dozen times and come up with a dozen different answers

    So until you have even a SHRED of evidence that Gregoire won because of illegal activity you should shut up. There is far more evidence of misconduct in Ohio from 2004 then there was in Washington in 2004, and by that i mean there is atleast SOME evidence that points to POSSIBLE misconduct in Ohio, as opposed to NONE in Washington. The elections board admitted that mistakes were made, certainly, and some problems were found with the system, true, but again it was not anywhere NEAR the level of duplicity you seem to irrationally believe it is. The process was followed and a governor was chosen, and if it had gone the opposite way i’d still say that. So again, until you have a shred of evidence that the election was illegititmate for a reason OTHER than your blatant partisan blindness you should probably shut up.

  38. Derek Says:

    Sorry, that should read “1,000 times.”

  39. Raghav Says:

    The thing is—and I agree with your specific criticisms—this is a problem of implementation, not of principle. Akhil and Vikram Amar anticipated this issue when they wrote their original article proposing this system. They propose requiring that voters be registered with some body (an NGO, an interstate election group, or even some federal body) that administers its own elections, separate from the “official” elections of the non-participating states. This would make recounts possible in the face of objections by non-participating states, and would forestall states from tactics like reducing the voting age to 5.

    I can’t get your friend’s paper to download either (it says it’s “under review by SSRN”) so I’ll commit the academic sin of responding to its abstract. It’s true that this might require Congressional consent, but in general this is just pro forma and can be implied even in cases where it’s needed. It seems unlikely someone like Akhil Amar would have proposed something like this if it were unconstitutional on the face of it.


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