Thursday, April 4, 2019

A reason for having an electoral college

I'm not going to try to defend the formula of adding a state's senators to its representatives to figure out how much say it should have in who becomes president.   You can make an argument for giving minorities extra influence but why should that only apply to minorities that correspond to a state's border?  Why should Rhode Island get extra influence so politicians pay attention but up state New York be dominated by New York City?

But there is a reason to group votes at the state level in that votes are counted at the state level.  It's at the state level that voting is organized and if it were the case that a state was strongly dominated by one party or the other then there would be a temptation for that party to over count their vote to influence the national election.  But if the whole weight of a state is going to one party or the other anyways then there's less incentive to do something like that.  And for more balanced states it's (hopefully) harder to do something like that.

This doesn't really work if the mechanics of voting are handled at a level other than the one votes are aggregated at.  But the fact that votes are aggregated tends to remove categories or problems that we don't normally have to worry about.

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