Editorial Pro & Con: Time to revamp our elections?
Our democracy has evolved enough that we should strip away all the procedures, arcane party math and traditions that stand between the voters and the votes they bestow upon their candidates.We should do away with delegates, superdelegates, and the Electoral College, and award elections to the candidates who get the most votes.We have progressed enough as a country and as an electorate that the person who wins the popular vote not the candidate who edges their opponent in Virginia or who woos the most superdelegates should win the office.The Democrats risk making a mockery of their calls for change and honesty iftheres any appearance of the partys superdelegates manipulating the race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Our whole electoral process invites mockery from home and abroad if another president wins the White House without the popular vote.We can bring all the democracy we want to the developing world, but thats anempty endeavor if our own system of government is not as representative of the people as possible.The Electoral College is outdated, shadowy and anti-modern, and its time to shut it down. The argument that without this less-than-Democratic institution presidential candidates will ignore states with lower populations, like Colorado, is flimsy compared to going to the voting booth and knowing your vote will really count, and not get swallowed up in whichever party your states majority chooses.So what if you dont get a visit from your presidential candidate? Candidates have more outlets to deliver their message than ever before. They even have more time to do it this presidential election started sometime in 2006. Also out of step with the modern world is the caucus. Yes, its communal and quaint a town-hall-style discussion where candidates pluses and minuses are hashed out by neighbors but honestly, in this day-and-age, not everyone can make it to a meeting say, at the Eagle County Building at 6:30 p.m.Voting should be as easy and convenient as possible, and for many its way more convenient to go to the gymnasium of the neighborhood elementary school before work or during than lunch hour than it is drive 30 miles at the end of the day when there are deadlines to meet, kids who need dinner and snow covering the roads.Nothing is more important in our democracy than voting, and nothing makes one feel more a part of a nation. Casting our votes should be as easy as buying books online and should count as much as each of our fellow citizens does.Matt ZalaznickFor the Editorial Board
This college has a purposeThe editorial opposite this one calls for the elimination of the Electoral College in presidential politics. Youd think wed be over the bitterness, but its time to face facts: It was a tough campaign, but Samuel J. Tilden lost the election of 1876 and Rutherford B. Hayes won it. Lets move on.The Hayes-Tilden race was one of four times in this countrys history that the winner of the popular vote didnt win the presidency. Every time, calls came to eliminate the Electoral College. It was a bad idea in Andrew Jacksons time and its a bad idea now.The original Constitution wasnt a perfect document, of course it took more than a century to pass an amendment to elect senators via popular vote but the Electoral College serves a crucial purpose.Even when there were but 13 original states, some were much bigger and more populous than others. Because of the fear of domination by the bigger states, representatives of the smaller states fought for, and won, one house of Congress in which all states were equally represented. Wyoming and Florida both have two senators, and thus, at least somewhat equal representation.The Electoral College represents the same thinking in that it gives smaller states a bigger voice in presidential elections. If the popular vote decided presidential contests, all the time, money and attention would remain east of the Mississippi and west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. If you think rural and Western issues get short shrift today, just imagine what would happen if winning the presidency came down to pandering to voters in New York City, Philadelphia, Miami and Los Angeles. Thats a big chunk of the country to ignore. And while TV and the Internet have made national campaigning easier, theres still no substitute for even whistlestop campaigning. People in Eagle County never see our Boulder-based Congressman, Mark Udall, any more. He doesnt need to come. The same situation would arise if we elected presidents via the popular vote. Its counter-intuitive to say this, but democracy is actually better served with the system we have now.Scott N. MillerFor the Editorial Board