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Add Electoral College to Voting Problems

March 19, 2004

Re "Suffrage Suffers in the Land of Rights," Commentary, March 15: I agree wholeheartedly with Jamin Raskin's list of shortcomings in the American voting process, but how did he miss the elephant standing in the middle of the room? The great awakening for me in the election of 2000 was the visceral realization that my Californian vote for president will always be worth only a fraction of a vote by an American from a less-populated state.

It's that lovely electoral college that gives every state two electoral votes to begin with, whether they have 40 million people like California or 8 million or 800,000. Then, winner takes all, so if 10 million Californians vote for the "losing" candidate, those votes disappear rather than get added to others for that candidate nationwide.

I'm not sure what you call this system, but it's not democracy, or representative democracy, let alone "one person, one vote." Maybe it's called governing councils?

Carolyn Widener

Venice

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I totally agree with Raskin, but he did not go far enough. In addition to the points he makes, our system is undemocratic because of the concept of electoral plurality winners. Candidates with considerably less than 50% of votes can and often do win elections. In a true democracy a runoff election is a must. In addition, the whole concept of electors is completely outdated and should be abandoned in favor of direct national elections for president followed by a runoff, if necessary. If it takes an amendment to the Constitution to implement it, so be it.

Marcel Gawartin

Ladera Heights

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