How to Get People to Vote

I have proposed a reform of the Electoral College that would return power back to state legislatures, would end the myth of "popular vote" for president, and would end voter fraud in presidential elections in every state chose this reform: place the selection of presidential electors back where it was in the first decades of the republic and have those electors chosen directly by state legislatures. 

As folks commenting on my article noted, we ought also to repeal the 17th Amendment and have state legislatures again reclaim the power to pick United States senators.  That change, though, would require 38 state legislatures to go along – the minimum number to ratify a proposed amendment – and that is a tough thing to do, no matter how good the reform. 

There is another reform in how presidential electors are chosen that would transform presidential elections and has already been adopted by Maine and Nebraska: have those presidential electors attributable to the state's apportioned House seats elected by congressional district and have those two presidential electors attributable to the state's two senators elected statewide.

Why would this be good?  Presidential candidates today need spend little time or attention in those states that either will be carried by that candidate no matter what or will not be carried by the candidate no matter what.  The Constitution does not envision a president being elected because most Americans want him, but rather because the different parts of America, each with different interests and values, find him acceptable.

States are the proper level of government to make that choice, but the most populous states today can safely ignore whole sections of the state because large metropolitan areas swamp the votes of less populous parts of the state.  What that means in a reliably leftist state like California is that the third of the state in the rural eastern ridge, who will be outvoted in statewide elections, really have meaningless votes not only in the presidential race, but in senatorial races as well. 

If the electoral votes of California were chosen by congressional districts, then the voters in Republican-leaning congressional districts would have an incentive to vote, as would voters in swing districts.  What would be true of rural Californians would be true of upstate New Yorkers, downstate Illinoisans, and so on.  These effectively disenfranchised Republican voters would have a reason to go to the polls in presidential elections. 

What is interesting is how this would have affected recent presidential races.  In 2016, assuming that congressional districts voted the same way for members of the House as they did for president, in the presidential election, Donald Trump would have won 247 electoral votes from those electors chosen by congressional district and 60 votes from the 30 states he carried, giving Trump 307 electoral votes instead of the 304 he got in the Electoral College as it is now.  

In 2012, making the same assumption (congressional districts would vote the same for president as for House member), Mitt Romney would have won 282 electoral votes and won the election.  In 2008, John McCain would have lost with 220 electoral votes instead of 173.  The changes in electoral votes reflect the fact that each state, still, would cast two votes statewide (as the Senate portion of the state's electoral vote) but that the few big states upon which Democrats rely would give some votes to Republican presidential candidates. 

There would be some advantage to Republican presidential candidates, but the primary effect would be to make much more of America relevant in presidential elections without allowing big cities (with Democrat machines who typically engage in substantial voter fraud) to determine the winner of the election.  Presidential candidates who actually campaigned all over the nation would find those efforts rewarded as scores of congressional districts that have historically been in "safe" states for one party or the other would be winnable.

This ought to be the response to Democrats whining for the next four years about the need to have a national popular vote.   Adopt the reform of Nebraska and Maine, which would have the practical effect of encouraging millions of Americans to vote in presidential elections and substantially increase the number of electoral districts in presidential elections by splitting large states into many smaller districts.

Here is another thought: conservatives should ask California and New York, if the state governments there care about more than just their party winning the White House, to take the lead with this reform.

I have proposed a reform of the Electoral College that would return power back to state legislatures, would end the myth of "popular vote" for president, and would end voter fraud in presidential elections in every state chose this reform: place the selection of presidential electors back where it was in the first decades of the republic and have those electors chosen directly by state legislatures. 

As folks commenting on my article noted, we ought also to repeal the 17th Amendment and have state legislatures again reclaim the power to pick United States senators.  That change, though, would require 38 state legislatures to go along – the minimum number to ratify a proposed amendment – and that is a tough thing to do, no matter how good the reform. 

There is another reform in how presidential electors are chosen that would transform presidential elections and has already been adopted by Maine and Nebraska: have those presidential electors attributable to the state's apportioned House seats elected by congressional district and have those two presidential electors attributable to the state's two senators elected statewide.

Why would this be good?  Presidential candidates today need spend little time or attention in those states that either will be carried by that candidate no matter what or will not be carried by the candidate no matter what.  The Constitution does not envision a president being elected because most Americans want him, but rather because the different parts of America, each with different interests and values, find him acceptable.

States are the proper level of government to make that choice, but the most populous states today can safely ignore whole sections of the state because large metropolitan areas swamp the votes of less populous parts of the state.  What that means in a reliably leftist state like California is that the third of the state in the rural eastern ridge, who will be outvoted in statewide elections, really have meaningless votes not only in the presidential race, but in senatorial races as well. 

If the electoral votes of California were chosen by congressional districts, then the voters in Republican-leaning congressional districts would have an incentive to vote, as would voters in swing districts.  What would be true of rural Californians would be true of upstate New Yorkers, downstate Illinoisans, and so on.  These effectively disenfranchised Republican voters would have a reason to go to the polls in presidential elections. 

What is interesting is how this would have affected recent presidential races.  In 2016, assuming that congressional districts voted the same way for members of the House as they did for president, in the presidential election, Donald Trump would have won 247 electoral votes from those electors chosen by congressional district and 60 votes from the 30 states he carried, giving Trump 307 electoral votes instead of the 304 he got in the Electoral College as it is now.  

In 2012, making the same assumption (congressional districts would vote the same for president as for House member), Mitt Romney would have won 282 electoral votes and won the election.  In 2008, John McCain would have lost with 220 electoral votes instead of 173.  The changes in electoral votes reflect the fact that each state, still, would cast two votes statewide (as the Senate portion of the state's electoral vote) but that the few big states upon which Democrats rely would give some votes to Republican presidential candidates. 

There would be some advantage to Republican presidential candidates, but the primary effect would be to make much more of America relevant in presidential elections without allowing big cities (with Democrat machines who typically engage in substantial voter fraud) to determine the winner of the election.  Presidential candidates who actually campaigned all over the nation would find those efforts rewarded as scores of congressional districts that have historically been in "safe" states for one party or the other would be winnable.

This ought to be the response to Democrats whining for the next four years about the need to have a national popular vote.   Adopt the reform of Nebraska and Maine, which would have the practical effect of encouraging millions of Americans to vote in presidential elections and substantially increase the number of electoral districts in presidential elections by splitting large states into many smaller districts.

Here is another thought: conservatives should ask California and New York, if the state governments there care about more than just their party winning the White House, to take the lead with this reform.