From: Marilyn Burge
To: Sue Armstrong
Date: Mar 12 1996 6:50:25 am
Subject: perservere [1/2] [2/2]
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On (09 Mar 96) Sue Armstrong wrote to Kenneth Cavness...

SA> It does seem that the system has worked well for you folks since
SA> your country's inception, and Dan mentioned that some states
SA> require their delegates to abide by public will .. but it still
SA> sounds like a very vulnerable area, open to abuse and machinations
SA> by those with dictatorial bents (assuming enough of them got
SA> together, and/or got to be College delegates.)  Considering the
SA> military and economic power the US still weilds, it's not a
SA> comforting thought that someday, some way, an election might be
SA> engineered to serve the interests of who knows who, possibly to
SA> the detriment not only of your neighbours who might not always do
SA> what Congress and/or controlling special interests has in mind
SA> for them, but to US citizens (especially dissidents of whatever
SA> stripe) as well.  Perhaps I misconstrued something here .. and I
SA> hope I have .. or I simply haven't gotten enough information yet
SA> to accurately go on.

Not to worry.  When you vote for a candidate, you also vote for a
group of people to attend the electoral college.  So, given that,
you are voting for people who are committed to that candidate.
It is true those people are only committed to that candidate for
the first vote, but that makes sense, too.  What if there is a
tie or a deadlock?  If they are committed for every vote, the
College would be voting the same way it had on the first ballot
until kingdom come.

While I have no love of the electoral system, and think it has
outlived its usefulness, that doesn't stop me from looking at
it as it is, rather than as my imagination thinks it is.

It made perfect sense in the days when it took maybe a week for
circuit riders to get a written message across country.  It
would have been a snap for a handful of people to skew the outcome
of an election merely by shooting a few circuit riders carrying
the vote tallies from distant states.  By having the equivalent
of a Congress, each packing one vote, elections were actually
more secure, not less.  But now, in the age of instant
communication that lets us know the outcome down to the last
vote in the most distant state, the EC makes no real sense at

The only valid argument I've ever heard for continuing the
EC is what happened when Nixon ran against Kennedy.  At that
time, Chicago was essentially run by a Democrat Machine that
was controlled by Mayor Daley.  "Registering voters" off the
names on tombstones was common practice.  The margin by which
Kennedy won was so slim, that had he not taken Illinois and
its delegates, he'd've lost that election.  But however many
electoral votes Illinois had, it was impossible for that
Machine to give its candidate any more votes than that,
regardless of how many dead people were registered to vote.
Had it not been for the electoral college, the Machine would
have had every reason to stuff the boxes will millions of
bogus ballots, instead of the thousands that they did.

Not the world's best argument, I know.  But the only valid
one I've heard for continuing the process as it is.

... STATESMAN: n. A dead politician.  We need more statesman.

--- PPoint 2.00
* Origin: So What's Yer Point? (1:105/40.666)
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