Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Do We Really Need The Electoral College?

Is a government policy or institution racist if it is designed to give one part of the population an advantage over another when the part of the country given the advantage is primarily white and the disadvanted part is largely non-white? If it were, I'm wondering if that wouldn't be an argument to do away with the electoral college, which seems to give more weight to the vote of rural voters than urban voters? I looked around online for articles about discriminatory lending policies that I thought might apply, but didn't have any luck. I found a bunch of stuff about apportionment -- a whole 'nother can of worms, but not much that seemed relevant. Finally, I did find case law (Gray v. Sanders) which addresses Georgia's version of the electoral college, the county unit system, for primary elections. Part of the decision reads:

In other words, the District Court did not proceed on the basis that in a statewide election every qualified person was entitled to one vote and that all weighted voting was outlawed. Rather, it allowed a county unit system to be used in weighting the votes if the system showed no greater disparity against a county than exists against any State in the conduct of national elections. [emphasis mine] ... We agree with the District Court that the action of this party in the conduct of its primary constitutes state action within the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.

I know we live in a republic and that institutions like the electoral college (and the senate, which also gives states disproportionate representation) have been around since day one, but still ... doesn't it just seem wrong? The Senate is balanced by the House, but in electing a President, what balances the disproportionate representation of the smaller midwestern states?

Hopefully, after suffering under 4 dismal years of the Shrub's reign, something'll change.

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