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Reply #16: The potential for political fraud and mischief [View All]

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mvymvy Donating Member (46 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-07-10 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #4
16. The potential for political fraud and mischief
is not uniquely associated with either the current system or a national popular vote. In fact, the current system magnifies the incentive for fraud and mischief in closely divided battleground states because all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state.

Under the current system, the national outcome can be affected by mischief in one of the closely divided battleground states (e.g., by overzealously or selectively purging voter rolls or by placing insufficient or defective voting equipment into the other party's precincts). The accidental use of the butterfly ballot by a Democratic election official in one county in Florida cost Gore an estimated 6,000 votes ― far more than the 537 popular votes that Gore needed to carry Florida and win the White House. However, even an accident involving 6,000 votes would have been a mere footnote if a nationwide count were used (where Gore's margin was 537,179). In the 7,645 statewide elections during the 26-year period from 1980 to 2006, the average change in the 23 statewide recounts was a mere 274 votes.

Senator Birch Bayh (DIndiana) summed up the concerns about possible fraud in a nationwide popular election for President in a Senate speech by saying in 1979, "one of the things we can do to limit fraud is to limit the benefits to be gained by fraud. Under a direct popular vote system, one fraudulent vote wins one vote in the return. In the electoral college system, one fraudulent vote could mean 45 electoral votes, 28 electoral votes."

Hendrik Hertzberg wrote: "To steal the closest popular-vote election in American history, youd have to steal more than a hundred thousand votes . . .To steal the closest electoral-vote election in American history, youd have to steal around 500 votes, all in one state. . . .

For a national popular vote election to be as easy to switch as 2000, it would have to be two hundred times closer than the 1960 electionand, in popular-vote terms, forty times closer than 2000 itself.

Which, I ask you, is an easier mark for vote-stealers, the status quo or N.P.V.? Which offers thieves a better shot at success for a smaller effort?"
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