Electoral College Bill ion the Agenda in  State Agenices Today

I understand a bill to eliminate the electoral college will be discussed in the House State Agencies Committee today.   The letter to the editor below and the article from the Democrat Gazette when a similar bill was brought before the Legislature, express my views on this subject.  This letter to editor is basically a short summary of the Dem Gaz article.

System fosters equality March 07

Re House Bill 1703 [2007] to change Arkansas’ role in the Electoral College: Do you suppose state Rep. Monty Davenport has the foggiest notion why the Founding Fathers chose the Electoral College as the best procedure for electing a president ? By a direct, popular vote, the choice of president would always be decided by the largest, most populated states, having little regard for interests or needs of the smaller, less populated states. The 2006 U. S. Census estimated that Arkansas, ranked No. 32, has a population of 2, 810, 872. How does that compare with California with an estimate of 36, 457, 549 ? Politicians would never need to spend a dime politicking in Arkansas or states smaller. The five most populated states have well over 110 million while Arkansas and the 17 smaller states combined have barely 6 million. The Founding Fathers had the right solution for representing population and region.

Following are excepts from this article.  The link to the article below is still active.  Please read the entire editorial.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

EDITORIALS : Save the Electoral College

Posted on Sunday, March 25, 2007

URL: http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Editorial/185616/


Bill 1703 [on electoral college in 07] is to assure that whoever wins a plurality of the popular vote nationwide is the next president of the United States. In short, to render the Electoral College meaningless. To quote the bill’s main sponsor, Monty Davenport of Yellville: “One person, one vote, that is my intent.” Nice slogan. But it’s no substitute for serious thought about the Electoral College and the role it plays in the complex American constitutional system. Would the gentleman from Yellville apply the same One Person, One Vote kind of sloganthink to the election of the U. S. Senate ?

Consider: Rhode Island is entitled to the same number of U. S. senators as California—two. Just as Arkansas gets the same number as New York. And every other state. How’s that for One Person, One Vote ? Would Monty Davenport like to change that aspect of the system, too ? Surely not. ...

In this federal union of ours, the separate and distinct states—regardless of population—are assigned crucial rights. Like sending delegates to the Electoral College. States that are home to a lot of people get the representation that heavily populated parts of the country deserve, while small, rural states still get a voice. California, which is so anxious to scrap the Electoral College, already gets 55 electoral votes when it comes electing a president, more than nine times the size of Arkansas’ delegation. Isn’t that enough ? .....

Why would an elected representative from Arkansas be so anxious to reinforce the influence of voters in Los Angeles or Phoenix or Houston ? If Representative Davenport gets his way, the Electoral College will have no real function. And the role of voters in Arkansas—along with those living in other small states—could be reduced to watching the election results on television. ....

 Edmund Burke tried to tell us: “The Constitution of a State is not a problem of arithmetic.” Rather, it is a way to take into account the many dimensions of an electorate and forge a consensus that is greater than all its parts. That’s where the Electoral College comes in. It may be an antique piece of clockwork, but it performs a valuable function within all the gears and levels of our constitutional system...

HB 1703 is now [March 25,07]  before the state Senate. Governor Mike Beebe says he’ll sign the thing if it gets that far. Let’s hope it doesn’t. And if it does, let’s hope somebody explains the dangers of this approach to the governor. Those dangers may not be obvious, but they’re there. We ignore them at our risk, and the republic’s.




Posted Februry 4, 09