Electoral Machinery Should Include Fair Process

Our nation’s electoral machinery disappoints

The electoral machinery used to elect our president may seem clunky to some. It fits in with the notion that democracy is often (always?) messy. Campaigning, for example, seems to rage on for much too long. With that we endure the push and pull of ideas as well as accusations and even nefarious maneuverings. Then the actual casting of votes and the counting and the translation into electoral votes leaves many confused, to say nothing of being disappointed and disenfranchised.

Virginia’s electoral machinery fell short

We recently witnessed an agonizing development in the electoral machinery as Virginia selected a House Delegate. Two recent blogs posted on December 20, 2017, and on January 3, 2018, referred to the Virginia Delegate race between Shelly Simonds and David Yancey. The race ended in a tie, frustrating all concerned. Something had to be done to break the tie and no easy solution was predetermined.

The method that was finally used to break the tie was a simple lottery. Each of the candidate names was placed in individual film canisters. One of the canisters was drawn from a ceramic bowl to determine the winner. A winner—a new Delegate—was identified: David Yancey. Many breathed a sigh of relief that things could move on. A solution was found and a winner declared. Some were jubilant in the result.

Virginia Lottery

Virginia’s electoral machinery traded people for a lottery

But consider what just happened. The voice of the people was silenced. No electoral machinery was in place to acknowledge the sentiment of the governed since the voting results were evenly divided. The solution came down to a simple lottery that was impervious to the will of the people, consideration of candidates, and ignorant of either candidate.

Question One: Why didn’t Virginia simply start with the lottery and save the cost of a campaign and that entire drama/tension thing?

Before any of my Republican friends and family go a bit crazy here, this blog is not partial to either candidate. I know neither of them nor am I aware of the policies of the given House district. The focus here is simply on the lack of effective electoral machinery to meet the tie-breaking challenge. In short, everyone involved should feel the embarrassment.

Question two: Will Virginia learn from this mistake and take steps to modify its voting process such that a similar future event can be avoided?

Winning by a majority

Looking again at the electoral machinery in place for selecting our president, many fault the Electoral College as being likewise deficient. Does it honor the voice of the people? Does it acknowledge individual states?

The genius of our Founding Fathers set our Electoral College in motion! The problem noted above in the first paragraph of this blog is that we abuse the Electoral College by employing the winner-takes-all approach. At once, the approach scrambles the sentiment of the governed and seriously damages our electoral machinery. Disregarding any vote cast for a candidate who is not the state favorite forfeits an accurate voting result.

The reason for this “fix” of the voting system, before votes are considered by the Electoral College, is to ensure a candidate wins by a majority. A majority, to remind you, is half of the votes plus one more. Winning most of the votes, a plurality, is not sufficient according to our Constitution.

Majority Definition

Our Electoral College is fair

There is a remedy for a situation wherein any candidate fails to reach a majority in the Electoral College. Our Constitution prescribes that the voting moves to the nation’s House of Representatives. Therein, each state gets to cast one vote until a majority is achieved. The House may vote often until these members, selected by the people, reach a determination.

The solution is fair because it acknowledges the voice of the people as well as each individual state.

It is an incredible solution founded on pure genius. I bet Virginia wishes it had such a piece of electoral machinery in place to satisfy the tie they recently had. Perhaps the result would be the same but a lottery could have been avoided.

Equal Voice Voting enables our Electoral College

Equal Voice Voting preserves the electoral machinery, and the Electoral College, our nation needs. The process ensures every vote counts and every state matters.

We need a sensible and practical change in how we select our nation’s president. As I often urge, please share this information with others. Then tell your legislators to consider Equal Voice Voting for your state.

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