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Electoral College Quotes

Quotes on the Electoral College

"…every member must have an equal and effective opportunity to vote, and all votes must be counted as equal."

    Robert Dahl, leading democratic theorist
Dahl, Robert (1998).  On Democracy.  p. 37.  Yale University Press.



"…for two centuries supporters of the Electoral College have built their arguments on a series of faulty premises.  The Electoral College is a gross violation of the cherished value of political equality.  At the same time, it does not protect the interests of small states or racial minorities, nor does it serve as a bastion of federalism.  Instead the Electoral College distorts the presidential campaign so that candidates ignore most small states – and many large ones – and pay little attention to minorities."

    George C. Edwards III, leading scholar of the U.S. presidency
Edwards, George C. III (21 Sept 2004). "Faulty Premises: The Flawed Foundation of the Electoral College."  Texas A&M University Distinguished Lecture Series.  http://www.tamu.edu/provost/udls/edwards.html



"…arguing that our endurance as a democratic republic is tied to the Electoral College would be tantamount to having claimed in 1915 that our stability was dependent on continuing to deny women the right to vote and to have state legislatures select U.S. Senators."         
   
    Rob Richie, Executive Director, FairVote - The Center for Voting & Democracy



"The majority does not rule and every vote is not equal - those are reasons enough for scrapping the system. But there are other consequences as well. This election has been making clear how the Electoral College distorts presidential campaigns. A few swing states take on oversized importance, leading the candidates to focus their attention, money and promises on a small slice of the electorate."
  
    The New York Times
The New York Times (29 Aug 2004).  Editorial/Opinion.  "Making Votes Count; Abolish the Electoral College."



"Every citizen’s vote should count in America, not just the votes of partisan insiders in the Electoral College.  The Electoral College was necessary when communications were poor, literacy was low and voters lacked information about out-of-state figures, which is clearly no longer the case."
   
    Rep. Gene Green, (D-TX)    
Raasch, Chuck (24 Sept 2004).  "Electoral College debate intensifies."  USA Today.



"You win some, you lose some. And then there's that little-known third category."

    Al Gore, 2004 Democratic National Convention.
"Gore: Let's make sure this time every vote is counted" (27 July 2004).  CNN.com Inside Politics.
http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/07/26/dems.gore.transcript/



"I wrote in defense of the Electoral College in 2000, but George Edwards III, a political scientist at Texas A&M University, has forced me to reconsider. Upon reconsideration, I think the critics have the better argument.  If the Electoral College didn't exist, no one would invent it. It violates the central principle of our election system -- that every vote should count equally and that victory should go to the person with the most votes. And it produces no obvious compensating benefit."

    Steve Chapman
Chapman, Steve (17 Aug 2004).  "It's Time to Junk the Electoral College".  The Baltimore Sun.



"The current system 'violates the one-person, one-vote rule.  It's essential to representative government to get it changed.'"

    Kay Maxwell, president of the League of Women Voters. 
Nussbaum, Paul (14 Sept 2004).  "Colo. eyes electoral vote split."  The Philadelphia Inquirer.



"All-or-nothing systems disenfranchise millions of voters and prompt campaigns to focus solely on closely contested states. This year, the candidates are ignoring two-thirds of the states because all of the electoral votes in each appear safely in one or the other's camp. So certain an outcome discourages turnout in those states as well.  Though the system dates back to the 19th century under laws adopted by each state, it doesn't have to be that way. Certainly, the U.S. Constitution doesn't require it."

    USA Today
USA Today.  (19 Sept 2004).  Editorial/Opinion.  "States can make Electoral College more democratic."



"We've said it before, and we'll say it again - the American Electoral College system sucks.  All told, the Bush and Kerry campaigns have spent well over $200 million by now, sending tens of thousands of advertising spots to Iowa television stations.  We merit this attention because, simply put, we are special, or at least our state is…This makes us worthy of the kind of time investment you don't normally see unless somebody is building a rain forest next door."

    The Daily Iowan
The Daily Iowan.  (23 Sept 2004).  Editorial/Opinion.  "Long past time to fix Electoral College."



"When a presidential election falls in the same year as a census, the apportionment of a full decade earlier governs the allocation of electoral votes.  In the election of 2000, for example, the allocation of electoral votes actually reflected the population distribution of 1990, a decade earlier… Because of this process, the apportionment of electoral votes ALWAYS overrepresents some states and underrepresents others."

    George C. Edwards III, leading scholar of the U.S. presidency
Edwards, George C. III (2004).  Why the Electoral College is Bad for America.  p. 2. Yale University Press



"The Gallup Poll reported in 2001, ‘There is little question that the American public would prefer to dismantle the Electoral College system, and go to a direct popular vote for the presidency.  In Gallup polls that stretch back more than fifty years, a majority of Americans have continually expressed support for the notion of an official amendment of the U.S. Constitution that would allow for direct election of the president.’"

    George C. Edwards III, leading scholar of the U.S. Presidency
Edwards, George C. III (2004).  Why the Electoral College is Bad for America.  p. xvi.  Yale University Press.



"I have ever considered the constitutional mode of election…as the most dangerous blot on our constitution, and one which some unlucky chance will some day hit."

    Thomas Jefferson to George Hay, after surviving the first contingent election.  1823.
Ford, Paul Leicester (1892-1899).  The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (FE).  Vol 10, page 264.  New York.



"The present rule of voting for President…is so great a departure from the Republican principle of numerical equality…and is so pregnant also with a mischievous tendency in practice, that an amendment of the Constitution on this point is justly called for by all its considerate and best friends."

    James Madison to George Hay.  1823.  Writings 9:147--55
Kurland and Lerner (1987).  The Founders' Constitution.  Volume 3, Article 2, Section 1, Clauses 2 and 3, Document 10.  The University of Chicago Press.
http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a2_1_2-3s10.html



"Can we forget for whom we are forming a government?  Is it for men, or for the imaginary beings called States?"

    James Wilson, author of U.S. Constitution.  30 June 1787.
Madison, James (1 April 1987).  Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787.  W.W. Norton & Company.



"It's a ridiculous setup, which thwarts the will of the majority, distorts presidential campaigning and has the potential to produce a true constitutional crisis…The majority does not rule, and every vote is not equal — those are reasons enough for scrapping the system."

    The New York Times
The New York Times (29 Aug 2004).  Editorial/Opinion.  "Making Votes Count; Abolish the Electoral College."



"The collision between the electoral vote and the popular vote is no longer just a historical curiosity. It’s time to abolish the Electoral College and to count the votes of all Americans in presidential elections... This is about far more than any one candidate or the outcome of a particular election. At stake is public confidence in our electoral system."

    Rep. William Delahunt, (D-MA)
Delahunt, William (10 Nov 2000).  "It's time to ablish the Electoral College."  The Boston Globe.



"I suspect this whole electoral college issue is due for serious debate in the next Congress."

    David S. Broder.
Broder, David (21 Oct 2004).  "Electoral Fixes."  The Washington Post.



"My view is that we need to change the system. And that means amending the Constitution.  Because we have this winner take all system...as the campaign progresses, and [as] more states move into an almost certain Democratic, or almost certain Republican category, the candidates are driven to go to those states that could go either way."
   
    Thomas Mann, senior fellow in American governance, Brookings Institute. 
"Dropping Out of Electoral College" (24 Oct 2004).  CBS News Campaign 2004.        http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/24/sunday/main651050.shtml



"...let's remember, the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one."

    CBS News
"Dropping Out of Electoral College" (24 Oct 2004).  CBS News Campaign 2004. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/24/sunday/main651050.shtml


"Colorado could be this year's Florida, unless Ohio is this year's Florida, or New Mexico or Pennsylvania or Iowa, or unless Florida is this year's Florida."

    CBS News
"Dropping Out of Electoral College" (24 Oct 2004).  CBS News Campaign 2004.        http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/24/sunday/main651050.shtml



"The system designed to ensure a wider field of vision from candidates has narrowed it to unacceptable limits."

    CBS News
"Dropping Out of Electoral College" (24 Oct 2004).  CBS News Campaign 2004.        http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/24/sunday/main651050.shtml



"The Electoral College is a political wisdom tooth - a historical relic that stays largely out of sight yet causes no small pain when it pops up."

    Matthew Daneman
Daneman, Matthew (4 Nov 2004).  "Electoral College unlikely to be junked."  Democrat and Chronicle.



"From the time I was small, I learned that every vote counted, that we actually chose the president directly. They build up your patriotism by saying we can elect whoever we want, and then you find out later it doesn't work that way.  I think it's wrong to tell kids it's one person, one vote. It's a huge lie."

    Philip Dale, 13, studying the Electoral College in his eighth-grade class. 
Strauss, Valerie (2 Nov 2004).  "In Class, Suddenly the Electoral College Counts."  The Washington Post.



"In an election featuring voter equality, the number of potential voters who actually cast a vote matters, because votes are aggregated across the electorate and all votes count equally.  In the Electoral College, however, it does not matter whether one person or all eligible persons go to the polls.  Because each states has a predetermined number of electoral votes, the actual vote total in a state has no relevance to its electoral votes.  The state casts its electoral votes even if only one person actually votes."

    George C. Edwards III, leading scholar of the U.S. presidency
Edwards, George C. III (2004).  Why the Electoral College is Bad for America.  p. 40.  Yale University Press.


"Why is it that the people of Afghanistan can vote directly for the Afghanistan president, unlike Americans, who cannot vote directly for the American president? Why is it that Iraqis can vote for their president, but Americans cannot vote for the American president?  If the Electoral College is so important in America, then shouldn't Afghanistan have an Electoral College? Shouldn't Iraq have an Electoral College? The answer is that they don't because it's not relevant."

    Anthony Medina
Medina, Anthony (30 Oct 2004).  "A vote to outsource the Electoral College."  The Seattle Times.



"The ramifications of the trend toward battleground-only campaigns shake the foundation of our democracy. As long as the Electoral College system remains unchanged, the citizens who live in the Red and the Blue states will never be engaged by either party. The alarming apathy of our population will only continue to grow."

    Ben Hughes
Hughes, Ben (26 Oct 2004).  "Electoral College Creates Apathy."  The Daily Texan.