No one is expecting anything but a routine process Monday for Obama, who decisively won the popular vote last month, earning 332 pledged electoral votes to Mitt Romney’s 206.
There have been some electoral defectors in the past, but they’ve been rare.
“Those instances are very isolated,” said Miriam Vincent, an attorney for the Office of the Federal Register, which records and archives the electoral votes. “That’s not to say it won’t happen this year, but it’s unlikely, based on history.”
There were those who predicted a tighter finish on Nov. 6, and some news media speculated on the possibility of some version of election year 2000, the last time the electoral college took center stage. President George W. Bush lost the popular vote but won the electoral college after a historic — and controversial — Supreme Court decision.
The Constitution provides little in the way of mandating how the electoral college should work. It simply determines that each state has one elector for each of its senators and representatives, meaning no state has fewer than three votes.
Locker posted an article about rightwingers contemplating organizing a boycotting of the electoral college vote by Romney’s delegates.
On Sunday, Phillips proposed an action plan — getting Electoral College voters in states won by Romney to boycott the validation of the election result by the December 17 deadline.
I wonder how long before some Republican comes up with the idea of buying the electoral college voters off to change their pledge and vote for Romney? It’s not illegal as far as I know for an elector to sell his vote.
These days I can’t tell the Onion news Vs, the real news when it comes to rightwingers. So I will see if my wondering comes true?
The Nate Silver Election: The pollsters and the pundits got it right, and Dick Morris is still looking for a Romney landslide
Call it the Nate Silver election.
The New York Times’ acclaimed and assailed FiveThirtyEight blogger, who analyzes polls with his way-cool special algorithm, has been telling us for some time that President Barack Obama was going to win a second term.
This brought him all sorts of opprobrium from conservatives livid that he could be so blithely be predicting certain victory for the beleaguered incumbent when polls showed Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were virtually tied in the popular vote.
But the critics were totally missing the point. Elections in this country are decided by the meshuganah electoral college. And those swing state polls were making it clear, although by the narrowest of margins, that Obama was going to once again be the One.
Silver, and much of the mainstream media, got it right. The polls were tight, but the analysis suggested correctly that Obama was going to win again. The much-maligned narrative wasn’t “skewed” — it was on target.
The obsessive focus on polls this time around was no doubt over the top. But given the tightness of the election, the intense passions surrounding it and insatiable thirst of so many to know who was going to win, I’m not sure it was a major war crime.
Last week I tried to explain the Electoral College to a very bright teenager from France. She’s attending my daughter’s high school for a couple of weeks as part of an informal exchange—last year my daughter spent a couple of weeks attending her lycée in Nantes—and when she returns home she’s supposed to write a report about the presidential election. She’d heard that Americans do not elect their president by popular vote, but she had trouble understanding exactly how we did elect them. Over a dinner of truite amandine (I was trying to make her feel at home), my girlfriend and I answered her questions. (My daughter was busy making phone calls for Obama, bless her heart.)
We explained that in the U.S., people don’t elect presidents; states do. Not every state has an equal share in the vote, but the state shares aren’t entirely proportional to population either. Each state gets as many electors as it has U.S. representatives (a population-based allocation) plus U.S. senators (two for every state, regardless of its size). That gives small states an advantage. “So big states have a disadvantage?” she asked. Well, no, we explained, because every state except Nebraska and Maine awards its electors on a “winner-take-all” basis. Small states get an advantage, but big states get an advantage, too. It’s in the medium-sized states where individual votes get diluted. And these “electors”? Qui sont-ils? They’re actual people, chosen at the state level to represent one candidate or another, but there’s no federal law requiring them to, and nobody’s ever been prosecuted for voting for somebody else instead, as some oddball “faithless elector” will do now and then (most recently in 2004).
At about this point a puzzled frown appeared on our French guest’s face, and I could tell that she was thinking: C’est stupide.
Oui, bien sur. Foreigners can never understand why American voters put up with the Electoral College, and I’m hard-pressed to come up with any explanation other than this. We Americans love our Constitution so much that we can’t bear to change even the stupid parts. It took 74 years and a bloody Civil War to get the Constitution to say that human beings are never property, so don’t expect fast action changing a system of choosing presidents that makes most people’s eyes glaze over—even if it is an affront to most contemporary notions of democracy.
In Praise of Apathy: It’s time to stop deriding the Americans who refuse to vote. They’re trying to tell us something.
If you’re a Republican, you probably don’t like it when people say nasty things about your candidate. If you’re a Democrat, you get steamed when the other side insults your president or your party.
But there’s one electoral bloc that both parties can vilify at their leisure: those U.S. citizens who refuse to vote. They are routinely derided as stupid, or lazy, or hapless.
By now, many Americans have already figured out that there are problems with the way they vote. Start with the fact that some people’s votes count more than others. The presidential vote on November 6 is shaping up to be a pretty tight contest, so it’s entirely possible that the final tally will be close. But, as anyone who’s heard of the electoral college already knows, U.S. presidents aren’t elected on the basis of the popular vote. (Remember Florida in 2000?) So there’s already plenty of editorial anguish over the inherent unfairness of this arrangement.
And then there’s the controversy over registration. Republicans, warning against vote fraud, have introduced laws across the country that raise the bar for voter registration. Critics of these efforts point out that these laws address a kind of fraud that is unlikely to occur, and gloss over the type that is much more threatening (namely, the wholesale manipulation of electronic voting machines). Such critics accuse the Republicans of actually trying to suppress the turnout of groups — minorities, the underprivileged, the elderly — who are more likely to vote for Democrats.
These are all legitimate problems. But what I don’t understand is why no one is addressing the elephant in the room: the fact that some 40 percent of Americans of voting age don’t see any reason to cast their votes on election day at all.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are among the politicians whose past criticisms of the Electoral College system would draw new scrutiny if there is a split verdict in this year’s presidential election.
National and swing state polls suggest it’s possible Republican Mitt Romney could win this year’s popular vote while Obama triumphs in the Electoral College — potentially marking the second time the rare split in outcomes has occurred in the last 12 years.
The last time it happened was in 2000, when Democratic candidate Al Gore won the popular vote but lost where it mattered. George W. Bush won Florida’s disputed recount, propelling him to 271 electoral votes — one more than he needed to take the White House.
The outcome triggered an intense — if shortlived — debate over reforming the Electoral College. Today, lawmakers in Washington are no closer to agreeing on whether to change the rules of how someone wins the presidency.
Here’s a snapshot of where top lawmakers have came down on a controversial issue that’s once again in the political spotlight.
Two presidential campaigns are underway: One to win on Election Day, the other to win after it.
President Obama and Mitt Romney are each preparing for recounts, confusion over voter-eligibility rules, and even the chance of a tie in the Electoral College. A close election, as this one will almost certainly be, means all three scenarios are on the table.
In 2000, it took until Dec. 12 for lawyers and courts to settle on a White House winner. Here are three ways this year’s presidential battle could last long past Nov. 6:
Florida’s infamous 2000 presidential recount is the first thing that comes to mind when talk turns to a possible recount. And election experts in the Sunshine State want people to know things have changed in the last 12 years.
The state’s recount rules are now far more clear and explicit, and less vulnerable to charges of political maneuvering. Instead of recounting individual counties, recounts are now conducted statewide in cases of a winner beating an opponent by half of a percentage point or less. The trigger is automatic.
All voting booths also now use paper ballots, eliminating the possibility of the infamous “hanging chad” that plagued the contest between George W. Bush and Al Gore.
“We’ve got 12 years of successful elections under our belt in Florida since we were in the spotlight,” said Stephen Rosenthal, Obama’s general counsel in the state.
This time around, observers looking for a drawn-out election should focus on the Buckeye State. Ohio orders a recount if the margin between the top two candidates is within one-fourth of a percentage point of the total votes cast.
But such a recount would begin only after the election results are certified in each individual county — and the deadline for that is 21 days after Nov. 6. The secretary of state would then need to certify the results, which a spokesman indicated would take a few additional days. In other words, it could take until December before a recount in Ohio even begins.
Candidates can also request a recount in Ohio, either for the entire state or individual precincts.
Though Republicans pushed to tighten voting requirements in an array of states the last two years, few of their proposals passed or survived legal challenges. That’s left the voting landscape largely unchanged from four years ago.
“The strict voter I.D. laws that we were most concerned about aren’t going to be in effect in any swing state,” said Lawrence Norden, deputy director of the Democracy Program at the liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice.
In the final days of the campaign the camps have reversed roles in a way - it’s the GOP who wanted their base terrified of our president, the economy, and the world in general for most of the campaign, but now they want their base confident. It’s a flop as big as any that Mitt has made during a wriggling, slimy dash upstream towards office. Is it a flop too far - and will there be a smelly Mitt carcass washing back downstream come 11/7?
Sorry for the smelly salmon analogy, Ezra below.
The Romney campaign is emphasizing momentum. Confidence. Even inevitability. You see it in their post-debate spin: ‘Mitt Romney did well enough that for the first time in six years, Romney folks emailed, ‘We’re going to win.” You see it in their electoral college spin: ‘Seriously, 305 electoral votes,’ an anonymous Romney adviser told Politico. You see it in their theory of the race — that we’re seeing a final break of unhappy independents toward the challenger, and that having permitted Romney to pass this commander-in-chief threshold, there’s really nothing Obama can do to salvage the election.
The Obama campaign is emphasizing how tight it is. How hard they’re going to have to fight this one out. How possible it is that the president might lose. Their latest fundraising e-mail, for instance, reads as desperate. It’s supposedly from Obama himself, and the headline is, ‘Stick with me.’ The first line is even graver: ‘I don’t want to lose this election.’ Remember that this is coming from the campaign that won last night’s debate and clearly leads in the electoral college. They could just as easily have written an e-mail entitled, ‘We’re going to win this thing!’
What you’re seeing here are two very different views of base psychology. The Romney campaign believes — and polling confirms — that Republicans are fired up to fire the president. They don’t need to worry about voter enthusiasm. But they do worry about voter confidence. If Republicans don’t believe they can win, they may not turn out to the polls. They don’t like the former Massachusetts governor enough to turn out on his behalf. So as they see it, confidence is their friend: Every Republicans wants to say they helped turn Obama out of office.
The Obama campaign believes — and polling confirms — that Democrats aren’t particularly fired up about the president. But they’re very fired up by the idea that Romney might become president. For the Obama campaign, then, voter enthusiasm can be squelched by voter confidence: If Democrats don’t think Romney can win, they may not be motivated to vote.
Until recently, this had Chicago pretty worried. Democrats have long seemed to believe they’ve got this election in the bag. That changed with the first debate (in part because the first debate really did make it likelier that Romney would win the election). So rather than comfort worried Democrats or strut about their debate win, the Obama campaign, in the final weeks of the election, is trying to scare its base, to persuade them that Republicans really could retake the White House. That gives their people a reason to go vote. And if their people have a reason to vote, the Obama campaign’s ground game will do the rest.
The race between President Obama and Mitt Romney is closer than ever, including the measure that will decide it: The Electoral College.
Obama leads in states with 201 electoral votes, according to state polling averages compiled by the RealClearPolitics website. Romney leads in states with 191 electoral votes.
It takes 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
Two-and-half weeks ago, RealClearPolitics gave Obama a lead of 265-191 in the Electoral College, in part because Ohio was considered a “likely Obama” state.
Now Ohio is again a tossup.
The reason: The debate.
Romney’s strong performance in the Oct. 3 debate, and Obama’s relatively poor one, enabled the Republican challenger to close margins in a variety of national and state polls.
Mapmaker, Mapmaker, Make Me a Map: A glut of ‘swing-state’ stories risks inspiring false certainty about the coming election
For a newspaper that believes that a decent fraction of its readers know that Kurt Weill wrote the music for The Threepenny Opera (51 Down in Wednesday’s Crossword), The New York Times curiously assumes complete amnesia when it comes to presidential campaigns. The hanging-chad long count in Florida that decided the 2000 election—down the memory hole. The 60,000-vote shift in Ohio in 2004 that would have made John Kerry president—forgotten.
A front-page article by Michael Cooper in Sunday’s paper was built around this revelation: “An analysis of the emerging electoral map by The New York Times found that the outcome would most likely be determined by how well President Obama and Mitt Romney performed in nine tossup states.” What a stunner for all Times readers who flunked out of the Electoral College in their attempt to master American politics. They must be gape-jawed to learn that while all American voters are equal, those in swing states like Florida and Ohio (both high up on the Times tossup list) are more equal than others.
The primaries are over and the Romney veepstakes are stalled: How often can you write that Rob Portman is solid, boring, and—get me rewrite—comes from Ohio? As an inevitable result, May is Map Month on the political beat. Everyone is out with their proprietary guides to swing states, with Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire highlighted as ground zero for uncertainty on virtually every list. There are so many exclusive lists of battleground states that Charles Mahtesian, Politico’s national politics editor, felt compelled to differentiate between “hard” and “soft” swing states.