12 November, 2008

Sometimes, they are just right.

While I was waiting for a flight at JFK, I picked up a copy of Newsday, a newspaper from NYC.

In it, there was an article about a talk given by former Democrat Presidential nominee, Michael Dukakis at Hofstra University. It can be read here.

In it, he calls for an overhaul of the election and primary process.

I have to agree. I think that the process used to select the nominee is flawed. Why is it, that when we vote for the office, we all vote on the same day, but when we vote for the person that we will vote for, the process is spread over several months?

Doesn't it make more sense that we all vote on the same day? Shouldn't the primary be all on the same day as well?

By spreading it out as long as the current process does, causes some states to not be able to vote for candidates. I was not able to vote for the candidate I would have liked to, because he didn't do well in states that held their primary before the People's Republic of NY held theirs, and the candidate had already dropped out of the race.

Dukakis suggests a consolidation of the process to 6 regional votes. The votes would be held 2 per month in February, March and April. He suggested that the votes would rotate each presidential election cycle. The article didn't go into more details than this, so I'm not sure of the finer details.

As far as the regular election process, I think that it might be time to consider an update to the Electoral College process. I know that the Founding Fathers put in the Electoral College for a reason, that the people then weren't as educated on the candidates as the delegates are, and that they would not be able to make accurate decisions. This may not be far off from the process today, but the reason for the lack of education is different now, than back then. Technology is a key in this. People can be educated, many choose not to.

We need not completely abandon the Electoral College, but I think it should evolve. As it stands now, each state gets as many electoral votes as members of federal representatives (2 Senators and as many Congress as the population calls for), so each state gets at least 3 votes. Every vote a state gets, goes to the party of the majority of the voters.

Here is my suggestion: break down the delegate votes should be divided by Congressional District rather than states. If a Congressional District votes different than the entire state, the votes of that district don't really count. Especially if there are districts that have much larger populations. For example, in NY, in a state of around 20 million population (enough to earn 31 electoral college votes), nearly 1/2 (around 8.2 million) of the population live in New York City. If you count the population center, the number goes up. The NYC market is nearly 19 million by itself (if you count those living in NY, NJ and PA), and over 12.3 million in just the state of New York. More than half of the population of the state is in one market. Nearly 2/3rds (18 of 29) of Congressional districts are 'Downstate'.

Instead of it being an 'all or nothing' process for the electoral college votes, how about giving each congressional district 1 vote, and let the remaining 2 votes for each state, go to the states overall winner.

This way would give us a more representative view of the views of population of the Country.

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