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Tinkering with the voting system

May 29, 2007

Re "Fixing the vote," Opinion, May 25

David O. Stewart contends that we should use a popular vote system to elect people to national office. Alternatively, he indicates that states should or could award all their electoral votes to the candidates supported by the majority.

Modifying the electoral college in the ways proposed by Stewart would have the effect of electing the president and others by East Coast and West Coast states. The 30 to 40 states in the middle of the country would be left with the privilege of paying for the benefits of those voters and having virtually no voice.

The system is lousy, no doubt, but imposing the views of the left-wing East and West coasts on the rest of the country is infinitely worse.

FREDERICK P. NITZ

Winnetka

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Stewart -- along with almost everyone else who wants to change the electoral system for electing the president to a popular vote -- forgets or has never learned: The United States is not a democracy but a federal republic.

We may use the tools of democracy to express our political will, but we are a republic nonetheless, and any attempt to alter that most basic concept of what we are and have been for more than two centuries should be met with an aggressive response in defense of our federal ideals.

Stewart bemoaned the "unfairness" of the current system we use for electing the president, but he failed to point out that a popular vote would be even more unfair because of the difference in population between small states and those with large cities.

In fact, a popular vote for the presidency would leave the decision with a handful of cities on the East and West coasts, with the lightly populated states in between left out in the cold.

Are we the United States of America or the United Few Cities With Massive Populations of America, Mr. Stewart?

We absolutely need to change the way we elect the president. We've outgrown the electoral college. But we should do it in a way in which Los Angeles doesn't have more political clout than five or more entire states. That, Mr. Stewart, would just be unfair.

FRED GUTIERREZ

Moreno Valley

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