News Release

The Election: Process and Results

STEVEN HILL
Co-author of “Reflecting All of Us” and Western regional director of the Center for Voting and Democracy, Hill said today: “This may be the push we need to get rid of the Electoral College — which was actually designed to limit the popular will. But if we have a direct popular vote, we certainly don’t want a president winning with a 35 percent threshold. It should be a majority threshold. There are two ways to make that happen. A two-round runoff, like they do in many Southern states, is a solution, but it would cost more to hold two elections. The best way may be instant runoff voting which simulates a runoff by allowing voters to rank their first choice as well as their runoff choice on the same ballot. Instant runoff voting would also deal with the ‘spoiler’ dilemma which many people grapple with.”
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WILSON RILES
Director for the Pacific Mountain Region of the American Friends Service Committee, Riles said: “The Electoral College was established as a means to get around the democratic process, as a way to have the white male property class make the decision as to who should be president. We could replace it with an election based on the plurality of votes, or a system that allows for a winnowing away of those who get fewer votes until you get the one who has the most support. Such a system would allow more diverse voices — not just political, but ethnic voices — to be heard.”

ROBERT NAIMAN
Senior analyst with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Naiman said today: “Under the Electoral College, voters in small states have more say than people in big states. In Wyoming one vote in the Electoral College corresponds to 69,000 voters; in California, one electoral vote corresponds to 180,000 voters. If each state had only as many electors as it had members in the House of Representatives and Bush won Oregon and Florida, Bush would have 216 and Gore would have 220 electoral votes.”
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JIM DeFEDE
A political columnist for the Miami New Times, DeFede said today: “There has been a propensity toward electoral shenanigans in southern Florida. In 1998, there was voter fraud in Miami that led to a mayoral race being overturned by a judge. There were numerous fraudulent absentee ballots…”

GREG ADAMS
Professor at the Department of Social and Decision Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, Adams said today: “Many voters in Palm Beach, Florida, have claimed that they were confused by the ballot structure and may have inadvertently voted for Buchanan when in fact they intended to vote for Gore. Some colleagues and I have analyzed the county-by-county returns in Florida and found that there is a systematic relationship between the number of votes for Bush and for Buchanan — but that Palm Beach County was so atypical as to literally be off the charts.” [See web page for visual display of data.]

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167