What Happens When a High School Uses the Electoral College to Vote for Prom Court?

Illustration for article titled What Happens When a High School Uses the Electoral College to Vote for Prom Court?

Right now, pundits are salivating over Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Colorado, and Nevada — because they are THE BATTLEGROUNDS. Everyone in all of the other states have accepted that during election years, we can all wear sweatpants whenever we leave the house since we almost certainly won't be ambushed by CNN cameras eager to capture and broadcast our dumb opinions. Our reliance on the electoral college to choose the Presidency despite the fact that no one really likes the electoral college is a curious remnant of a bygone era. Just how impractical is it? Let's take a look at a film that documents how the voting system would work in a different context — high school prom.

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The 2009 documentary entitled "Electoral High School" applies the electoral college to a rural Wisconsin high school — the bureaucracy, the confusion, the unnecessary steps, the endless caveats, the inconvenience — and that's only when voting is as simple as walking across the lunch room. As we eagerly anticipate election day 2012, it doesn't hurt to brush up on the confusing clusterfuck of rules that govern how we choose the President.

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The film is 37 minutes long, but when you have the time, it's a fun look into both how the electoral college works and what sort of characters can be found in Frederic Area 7-12 School — which, full disclosure, is my old high school.

[Snag Films]

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DISCUSSION

ohmyclarence
ohmyclarence

I get the annoyance of the Electoral College, the system isn't perfect, but the system does have its benefits. More so, it's how the system was designed to be done, and the alternative while more aligned to our conception of an ideal republic isn't without its flaws.

The Electoral College preferences states over individual votes, which preserves the notion of a federation of sovereign states rather than one country with 50 administrative districts. If we had a direct popular election small states and non-urban areas would become politically meaningless, because candidates and parties would just flock to big states and cities and collect overwhelming majority of the national population. As a progressive person, ideologically I'm all for that; however, small states rural places have issues too that need to be addressed, and the Electoral College forces them to that.

If you want to stick with the High School analogy, the current system of a direct popular vote means that the popular candidate just has to sway the average majority, and its easy to do so because they are already pretty popular. If you were to incorporate a Electoral College, while you would have a lot of added stress, it would give communities in High School who exist on the fringe but still have legitimate issues more sway because all of a sudden it isn't just a matter of winning the majority of votes but rather picking up voting blocks. Which means you have to appeal to certain issues and interest groups, not to mention build a coalition of interested parties.

Now, the current national system gives a lot of influence to a hand full of states, and as a result presidential campaigns ignore places that they more or less have in the bag because they can already count on those votes. We can modify that system, such as perhaps doing away with the winner takes all approach and award Electors proportionally, and give states electors proportional to their seats in the House or the total number of Senators, whichever is more. This would give places like California more attention, while not completely ignoring Wyoming.