November 16, 2003

Electoral Reform for Stronger Democracy

The debacle in Florida in the Fall of 2000 seems to have disappeared from the radar screens of most Democrats. After that shameful episode, most Democrats were talking about abolishing the Electoral College since, by all reckonings, Vice-President Gore had garnered the majority of the votes cast while losing the Electoral College vote. On another front, it seems that the recent re-districting efforts in most U.S. states have resulted in Federal Congressional districts that are more gerrymandered than ever before, with very few Congressional races being at all competitive.

Bearing this in mind, I think that it is time for a Constitutional amendment that accomplishes two electoral reforms: the abolition of the electoral college and the replacement of single-member districts with all candidates running on a statewide slate similar to Senators.

With the abolition of the Electoral College, the President and Vice-President would simply be whoever received the majority of votes for each office. If no one received a majority, instead of the current system where the choice would go to the House of Representatives, there would be a runoff election including only the top two vote recipients.

For the election of candidates to the U.S. House of Representatives, all candidates would be voted on state-wide, with the top vote recipients being elected to Congress. For example, if a state had eight seats in the House of Representatives, the top eight vote recipients would become the eight members of Congress from that state. Additionally, each voter would get eight votes to cast, which they could put on a single candidate, on eight different candidates, or in any distribution the voter wanted.

I believe that both of these reforms will provide for a stronger expression of democracy in our nation.