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Letters: Popular vote idea not so popular

November 13, 2012

Re “President, by popular vote,” Editorial, Nov. 12

Your editorial argues for a national popular vote system as a democratic reform. However, this would actually undermine rather than enhance the perceived legitimacy of whoever won a close election. There would always be plausible claims that close races were stolen because fraud or cheating anywhere could swing such an election. Imagine the Bush-Gore controversy in Florida, played out nationwide.

A national popular vote is really about expanding the Democratic Party's power, not reform.

Gary M. Galles
Malibu

The danger of your approach is that blue states are far more likely to adopt a fair electoral system than the red states. There is no way that the red bastions of the South and Midwest will relinquish their electoral majority to a popular vote.

Our great democratic experiment needs refinement. But a popular vote requirement is only one element. Voting periods need to be extended nationwide to two or three days at least; long voting lines should be eliminated; a national standard of qualification and identification for federal elections should be established; the primary season should be shortened to three months to increase voter interest; and the effects of big money on both parties should be eliminated.

Last but not least, no one without a college education should be allowed to watch Fox News.

Bill Robinson
San Clemente

Thanks for a sober, level-headed piece on our antiquated, counterintuitive electoral college system. I do think that another option exists. Because the states have the constitutional mandate to run their own elections, it seems to me that states could simply award their electoral college votes based on the popular vote within the state itself.

So, for example, if a state has 20 electoral votes, and the Republican candidate got 60% of the vote and the Democrat 40%, then the state would award 12 electoral votes to the Republican candidate and eight to the Democrat.

Karl Lisovsky
Venice

Your editorial criticizes the electoral college for occasionally skewing the popular vote result and also for narrowing the campaign field to states that are in contention, which may be fair criticism. But your argument that the electoral college was designed to thwart the democratic impulses that alarmed our founders is not. The union was not formed by the people but by the states, which elected the president through the electoral college.

In any case, fair or not, American history places great emphasis on a union of states, not just a union of people. We may abolish that notion, but it should be recognized.

Alan Charles
Beverly Hills

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