Is the Electoral College Flunking?

I enjoyed this video about the perils of the Electoral College. Even better, the narrator referred to us as Hoosiers and not "Indianans." Thanks, guy! (However, when the video mentions Hoosiers, it shows a map of Illinois. Baby steps, I suppose.)

The video was made by a group called Americans Elect. If you’re not familiar with this organization, I suggest you give them a strong look. Their purpose is to help America circumvent the insular partisan process used to determine viable candidates, and help us actually elect the person we think is best for the job. Ideal for people like me, put off by the simplistic concept of "ideology," both parties, and the farsical production the primary process has become (opinion and contemptuous disposition are mine, not necessarily the Chamber’s).

Revising the Electoral College: Time for a Change?

I, and many others it’s safe to say, are not in the habit of seeing something happen in California and wondering if that might be a good idea for the rest of the country. I’m not going to go that far here either, but at least this California development is worthy of debate.

Governor Jerry Brown has made his state the ninth (I honestly don’t know who the other eight are other than a reference to all being "solidly blue") to strive to change the way the president of the United States is elected. The group, now representing 132 electoral votes, wants to award those electoral votes to the candidate who earns the most votes at the ballot box nationwide.

A couple of law professors have spearheaded the initiative, which apparently has been around for nearly a decade. There is some credence to the fact that a small number of swing states seemingly hold a level of power far exceeding what would be expected. You can put Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and a few others (Iowa and New Hampshire at this time of the year) in that mix.

But maybe it’s just the biggest of the big — California, New York, Texas, etc. — complaining because they get little attention during the campaigns. And then there is the Indiana scenario, relatively forgotten based on its late primary date and consistent GOP backing until the spotlight shined brightly in both the spring and fall of 2008.

Does this measure give every state a real voice, as the supporters say? Check out the full story and let us know what you think.

Do Your Part: Count to 10

Still not sure about that U.S. Census form every household is required to fill out next March. Try this fact on for size: For every 1% increase in the number of people who mail back their questionnaires, the U.S. government will save between $80 and $90 million.

How? Because the U.S. Census Bureau is required to hire field workers to track down the estimated 130 million people who don’t return their questionnaires. Thus, avoid this second requirement by living up to the first requirement. It’s that simple.

Most people know that census results help ensure proper federal representations (in Congress and the Electoral College), as well as allocations of billions of dollars coming back from Washington to states and local communities. You might not know:

  • The 2010 census process actually began last spring when field workers went door-to-door with GPS computers in order to verify every address in the United States 
  • The second phase, which involves sending the questionnaires to each address, features a form with only 10 questions
  • Field workers will do follow-ups between April and July, and in December of next year, the Census Bureau will send the population information to the president, as mandated by law

Here are some other items to remember:

  • If you mail back your 2010 forms successfully and completely, no one from the bureau will come to your home
  • If you have not returned your form or have not answered each question completely, a field worker from the Census Bureau will knock on your door between April and July 2010
  • If a field worker does knock on your door you can ask him or her to share with you the following: a valid identification badge, contact information of a supervisor or regional office and a letter on official Census Bureau letterhead
  • A bureau representative will never ask you for your Social Security number, bank account number or a credit card number
  • The Census Bureau will never contact you by e-mail

Again, simply fill out the form and your job is done. You have saved future visits, taxpayer money and helped your state in the national count.

Indiana has more information available here

Changing the Way the Votes Count?

I’m not sure I agree with the effort, but a question posed by the leader of National Popular Vote does stop and make one think.

Barry Fadem is the man. He’s president of the organization trying to persaude state legislatures to implement a popular election of the president. His question: "Why are all the other elections in this country based on the popular vote except for the most important one — the presidency?"

Supporters say the goal is to spread the wealth among candidate campaigning, similar to what Indiana experienced this spring for the first time in 40 years. Critics counter that rural areas will suffer, with candidates focusing on the big cities with the higher vote totals. has the most interesting story. What’s your preference: the tradition of the Electoral College or time for a change?

On a side note, the chairman of the National Popular Vote effort is a scientist best known for inventing scratch-off lottery tickets. If only I would have come up with that idea!