Why I voted for Hillary, even though I said I never would.
David Mizne
283

Part of the problem is that our electoral system uses districts to determine the presidency, and not the popular vote.

I won’t comment on your reasons for your vote. You are entitled to those opinions.

I just want to comment on this one throwaway line about the illusory benefits of the popular vote over districts which send electors to Washington. I frequently encounter that sentiment. If we relied on the popular vote, we would still be waiting for the definitive conclusion of the Bush-Gore election in 2000.

In a close election, recounts are usually demanded only in districts where the counts are close; sometimes statewide recounts in winner-take-all states where the count is close. There is nothing to gain if one candidate already has a large majority. Al Gore only asked for recounts in several Florida districts where he was most likely to gain votes.

But if we were on a popular vote system in 2000, then the entire country would have to be recounted, because votes gained everywhere would have equal value. Even if California went 60% for Gore, Bush would demand all California be recounted, because every additional Bush vote would count.

Even worse, much worse, none of the districts’ votes would ever be accepted as final as long as there was a single hanging chad to be challenged in court. Or the smallest question about a trunkload of ballots found in an election official’s car trunk days after the election, as happened in Minnesota to swing the election to Al Franken. Or a single district where more votes were cast than there were registered voters, as happened in scores of districts around the country. All of these things would have to be resolved, and for some of them there is no possible resolution except voting again.

And absentee votes, there’s a real can of worms. Each and every one would have to be investigated to be certain the voter was registered, that the voter was qualified to vote, and that it was actually that voter who filled out the form.

In a close election, each and every one of all those questionable instances would have to wind their ways through the courts, and the appeals courts, and the States’ supreme courts, and finally the US Supreme Court.

We know today that there are a great many instances of flawed ballots, malfunctioning voting machines, ballot stuffing, non-citizen voting, phony absentee ballots, dead people voting, people voting more than once, and more. But we mostly let those things pass because only in a few cases, like how Franken became a Senator in Minnesota, are those things likely to swing an election. The massive non-citizen voting in California, for instance, probably has no effect, since it most likely goes heavily Democrat in a heavily Democrat state, so we ignore it.

The Constitutional system of each state sending electors to Washington to actually elect the president and VP eliminates all of that discord. There is no doubt whatever about the electoral counts by which the winners were elected. The election always has a definitive conclusion, and the courts cannot interfere. But changing to a nation-wide popular vote system would be a national disaster.

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