Resolved: Direct popular vote should replace electoral vote in presidential elections.
This will be formatted in the public forum style.
Contention 1: The state winner-take-all system creates imbalances in elections.
Subpoint A: The state winner-take-all system ignores votes. According to Aleksandar Pekec of Duke University, “For example, the assignment of all 25 of Florida’s electoral votes depends on several hundred votes difference.”  This was the case in the 2000 election in Florida when Bush won the state by a 0.01% margin. But by the state winner-take-all system, all of Florida’s electoral votes went to Bush. The votes of nearly 3 million people were ignored because they were not the majority. If those minority votes had been tallied in a national popular vote count, they would have elected a different president. This is proof that the current state winner-take-all system does not accurately reflect the people’s opinions in counting electoral votes.
Subpoint B: A close outcome is considerably less likely with direct popular vote. According to John R. Koza in Every Vote Equal, a close outcome is less likely with a single large pool than with the fifty-one separate smaller opportunities that currently exist. "In fact, no presidential election since the 19th century has been won by fewer than 100,000 votes on a nationwide basis."  In the 1876 election, Democrat Samuel J. Tilden earned a full 3% lead over Republican Rutherford B. Hayes in popular votes nationwide. Yet Hayes eventually won a mere one-vote lead in the Electoral College by winning several states by extremely small margins, including 889 votes in South Carolina and 922 votes in Florida. If the president had been chosen by popular votes alone, then a close outcome would have been avoided and Tilden would have won decisively. Decreasing the probability of a close outcome would greatly improve the morality of the voting system by electing a definitive winner, indicating that direct popular vote should replace the Electoral College.
Contention 2: Direct popular vote would ensure equality in the power of each and every vote.
Subpoint A: Not every vote is equal when the state popular vote outcomes are close under the Electoral College system. According to John R. Koza, “There are numerous examples of large disparities in the value of votes under the statewide winner-take-all system.”  For example, Al Gore and George W. Bush both won five electoral votes from New Mexico and Utah, respectively, but Bush won those five votes with a 312 thousand popular vote lead. Gore had only won a 365 popular vote lead. This means that each person from New Mexico carried 855 times the power of one from Utah, which is immoral. This is another reminder that the statewide winner-take-all system makes razor-thin margins much more likely and electoral fraud more rewarding, thus it should be replaced.
Subpoint B: Under a national popular vote, every vote would be equal throughout the United States. In the current electoral system, the least populous states like Wyoming are over-represented because each state has a minimum 3 electoral votes. “Thus, in the Electoral College, a vote cast in a less populated state is worth three to four times as much as a vote cast in a highly populated state” according to John Mark Hansen of the Michigan Law Review.  With direct popular vote, however, a vote cast in a large metropolitan area would be no more or less powerful than a vote cast anywhere else. Every voter’s power would be equal. Thus, big cities such as New York cannot control the outcome of the national election. The impact of this? Candidates need to campaign not just in cities but also in rural areas and ALL parts of the country for a moral representation of the people’s will.
In conclusion, the statewide winner-take-all system is the reason why voters are ignored in presidential campaigns and votes are unequally weighted. For these reasons, we urge you to affirm. Thank you.
Thanks for the topic!! I wont be posting my actual, more high quality case for fear of it getting stolen. But I will post a constructive. As per the rules, I won't directly refute until the next round.
I negate the resolution.
Observation 1: The Electoral System in the U.S. has worked well for centuries, there needs to be an extremely compelling reason to re-form our entire election process. Noting my opponents contention two, you can see that it's clearly a status quo argument. We ought not reform legal precedent based off status quo unless we can conclude that A) The status quo has a problem, B) The problem will not go away by itself, C) changing the status quo will fix this problem, and D) the unintended problems from changing the status quo have been evaluated and considered of less significance than the current problem. If my Opponents arguments do not meet all these criteria, you vote Con by default.
Observation two: The resolution calls for a comparitive analysis between DPV and Electoral Vote. Luckily for me, my system (the electoral college) is already in effect, so I dont need to argue one. However, since my Opponents position is advocating a change in the status quo, she must present a coherent voting system in replacement. This means, essentially, that if we want to affirm this resolution we need to have some framework of what our new voting system ought to be. (IE, are votes counted state by state still? Will minoirity presidents still go to the house of represntatives? Will all votes still be taken on the same day? ECT.)
C1: The EC preserves our moderate government.
Joy McAfee writes:
"Without a two-party competition, it would almost be impossible to win a true sizable plurality of at least forty percent. Compromises and concessions would vanish, and a candidate could represent all fifty states by winning the vote with a minimal plurality. True representation would cease to exist because it would not be needed to win. Instead, a minority party could represent a select group with large numbers and disregard the many important compromises needed to gain these votes under a two party system.”
C3: The Electoral College respects the states.
DPV takes away the voice of the small states. Let's be honest, do we really believe that under a system of DPV states lke Wyoming or the Dakotas are going to have any say at all? Of course not.
Here's what CATO institute has to say:
“The sole practical effect of [direct election] will be to eliminate the States from their share in the political process. A president so elected may be more likely to pursue national interests at a cost to state or regional concerns because state identities and considerations will no longer matter at all since the states will no longer exist so far as presidential elections go. Such a president might also be likely to pursue policies that enhance or enlarge the scope and power of the federal government.” While direct election may not have strong partisan effects, the further empowering of the federal government and a subsequent increase in its ambit would run counter to the founding aspirations for limited government and individual liberty”
If we want to base things just off of population like DPV will, then should we not follow that same line of reasoning and abolish the senate as well? My Opponent needs to show us where the line ought to be drawn in regards to states rights if we abolish the elctoral college.
Therefore, you should vote Con.
1. McAfee, Joy. Cumberland Law Review,
I will first refute my opponent's argument and if space allows, return to my own.
A. The status quo DOES have a problem. We can see that the Electoral College is not morally better; rather, it fails to uphold equality in elections. The Electoral College system not only ignores votes due to the state winner-take-all policy, but compounds this inequality 51 times for the 51 voting jurisdictions.
B. The problem will NOT go away by itself. As long as the state winner-take-all policy still exists, it is inevitable that a large portion of the voters in each state will be ignored, and this number is compounded 51 times, as previously mentioned.
C. Changing the status quo will indeed fix this problem. Referring back to my framework, I define should as morally BETTER. Notice that it does not say morally BEST. This is important because no system is perfect, but direct popular vote is indeed BETTER because it greatly improves the equality which the state winner-take-all system fails to uphold.
D. The “unintended problems from changing the status quo” HAVE been evaluated. As mentioned, no system is perfect. In the end, there will be votes that are disregarded because they did not favor the majority. However, in direct popular vote, this number is kept to a minimum by placing all votes in a single national pool instead of 51 separate jurisdictions. This means that much less people are ignored, and their votes DO matter because they have a direct say in the overall election.
Briefly addressing my opponent’s second observation, the direct popular vote system would use a single, national vote tally to determine the presidency. If votes were counted by state, there would be no difference from the current system which already uses state popular vote totals to determine the winner of electoral votes. All votes will be taken on the same day, and candidates will still be referred to the House of Representatives if they do not win a majority (over 50%) of votes.My opponent claimed in his/her first contention that the EC preserves our moderate government. S/he assumes that a candidate “could represent all fifty states by winning the vote with a minimal plurality.” However, I have established in response to his/her second observation that a candidate would need to either win a majority of popular votes or be selected by the House of Representatives. Also, s/he states that the Electoral College requires landslide victories, which s/he defines as “half of the electoral votes, plus one.” A one-vote difference is definitely NOT a landslide victory; rather, it further emphasizes the fact that the Electoral College is creating RAZOR-THIN MARGINS and EXTREMELY CLOSE outcomes. In direct popular vote, this simply would not happen. “In fact, no presidential election since the 19th century has been won by fewer than 100,000 votes on a nationwide basis” according to John R. Koza, a professor at Stanford University.  This confirms that the probability of a close outcome would be decreased, which greatly IMPROVES the MORALITY of the voting system by electing a definitive winner - thus indicating that direct popular vote SHOULD replace the Electoral College.
In his/her 2nd contention, my opponent cites the Heritage Foundation in placing his warrant regarding focus. However, this source is strongly conservative and therefore biased. Their website clearly states that it is an organization “whose mission is to formulate and promote CONSERVATIVE public policies.”  Therefore, my opponent has failed to support his claim with reliable evidence. The judge should also consider that just 17.0% of American citizens live in Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, North, Carolina, and Florida combined, the 5 most controversial swing states in the 2008 election according to the New York Times.  By contrast, 80.3% of citizens reside in metropolitan areas according to the 2010 census.  The metropolitan areas clearly represent a greater part of the country, thus candidates will campaign to more people with direct popular vote. This is morally better, so it should replace EC.
My opponent states in his/her 3rd cont. that the EC respects the states, and DPV takes away the voice of the small states. The fact remains, however, that small states are currently OVERrepresented. A vote cast in a less populous state is currently worth THREE to FOUR TIMES one cast in a more populated state. “Although the Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not allow such extreme deviations from the ‘one person, one vote’ standard in legislative apportionment, they are perfectly tolerated in the apportionment of the Electoral College” according to John Mark Hansen of the Michigan Law Review. This is NOT an equal representation, while in direct popular vote, the “one person, one vote” standard is upheld. Using my definition of should as morally better in terms of equality, direct popular vote thus SHOULD replace electoral vote in presidential elections.
We have successfully rebutted each of our opponent’s points and shown why the direct popular vote is better in every scenario, thus we urge a pro ballot. Thank you.
I'll be at a tournament on friday and saturday, so I will unfortunately almost certainly forfiet round three due to the 24 hour period for making arguments. If my opponent could wait as long as possible to post her round three, I would appreciate that very much.
I'll now attack my opponents case.
In her framework, my opponent claims that the word should implys that something needs to be morally better. Ok, the problem is that this is not a debate based off of morality, but rather logic. Besides, accepting this framework leads one to a Con ballot, because you can see in my case that we're respecting states rights and minority interests along with keeping a moderate government.
Winner takes all
A. Votes are ignored
First of all, turn the Pekec evidence. Imagine having to recount of such a small margin in a nation-wide election. Where would we even begin? Further, my opponent claims that whoever voted for the losing candidate has had their vote "wasted". Umm not exactly. The Heritage foundation pre-empts this argument in the article I've already linked:
“Such arguments, however, are a bit disingenuous. These votes were not wasted. They were simply cast on the losing side of a popular vote within the state. If the 2000 election had been conducted based on nationwide popular vote totals only, would people claim that any vote for George W. Bush was "wasted" because Al Gore won the popular vote? Of course not. The votes for Bush were cast in an effort to win. In the event of a loss, they would simply have been votes for the losing candidate -- just as in any other election (such as an election for Governor or Senator).”
The system is a winner takes all system because that's how politics works! Unless my opponent is going to argue something ludicrous like giving Al Gore 2 years in office and George Bush 2 years, a winner takes all system is how our government is.
Also, no negative impact argued. Sure, Al Gore supporters won't like that GWB won, but so what?
B. Close elections more likely under EC.
Turn: Let's look at the closest thing the U.S. has ever had to an election by direct popular vote, that of 1824. In the end, the president who won has merely 31% of the vote! The candidiate with the most popular votes had only 41%, still WELL under a majority. So when my opponent argues that we need to abolish the EC because a few times in history a minority president has been elected, we need to consider the implications of DPV. Such a thing is more likely to happen under DPV.
Turn: Tilden only had a "majority" of popular votes because the democrats in the South were suppressing the black vote.
" Democrats used violence and intimidation to keep blacks from the polls, while Democrats claimed that Republicans weren't simply disallowing votes tainted by violence but also legitimate returns that favored the Democratic party."
Turn: Hayes was a good president. Hayes eneded reconstruction, ended the spoils system, dealt with corruption in the postal service, and enforced the monroe doctrine, among other things.
2. DPV ensures vote equality
A. Close elections make some votes more valuable
Kay, just like a vote in the 1984 election was less valuable than one in the 2000 election. Again my opponent criticizes the "winner takes all" aspect. Let me make a satirical response: Kerry got 48.3% of the vote in 2004! Its immoral that he doesn't get to be president for 48.3% of the time! Bush got to be president for 4 years, and Kerry didn;t get to be president at all! That made a vote for Bush infinitely more valuable than a Kerry vote, which is immoral.
(also, in response to close elections being immoral we need to ask why. My Opponent hasn't even tried to explain this---she's merely asserted.)
Does the above argument seem logical? Of course not. Again, the reason that winners take all is because that is how politics works.
B. Small states are over-represented.
When considering this argument, we need to ask ourselves what kind of impact this has, and what kind of implications acting on this would carry. Surely small states are "over represented" in the Senate, right? Should we abolish the senate and make everything based on population?
Also turn: My Opponent argues that candidates need to campaign in all parts to morally represent the people. Unfortunately for her, this supports my side. Recall what I've stated earlier, that when candidates campaign in battleground states they are creating a platform to represent all Americans, not just the Americans living in their areas of the country.
I see no ballot other than Con for this debate because my opponents arguments are not only refuted, but down-right impactless.
My opponent tries to weigh the framework by essentially saying that we need to consider morality above practicality. Before we can even consider this, let's look to the fact that NOWHERE has my opponent even attempted to argue what is/isnt moral! If we want to go with her framework, she must define, prove and defend a system of objective morality or else we cannot conclude the EC to be immoral.
In response to my framework, she as argued "As long as the state winner-take-all policy still exists, it is inevitable that a large portion of the voters in each state will be ignored, and this number is compounded 51 times, as previously mentioned"
That's a huge burden for my oppontnet to prove. The winner takes all system would still apply under DPV, that was the purpose of my point C, which she never responded to with anything other than "morality".
In response to my 2nd observation she states:
"the direct popular vote system would use a single, national vote tally to determine the presidency." This turns her implied recount argument, such things would be much more likely to happen under a nation-wide scale. She's also stated that if a candidate gets >50% the house will vote. The house is almost ALWAYS dominated by one party, which would keep the voices of people from the other party unheard.
In this speech, I will crystallize my own points and briefly attack my opponent’s.
First, the state winner-take-all system DOES create imbalances in elections.
Imbalance how? Millions of votes don’t make it past the state level. Because the winner-take-all system awards the electoral votes to the candidate with the most votes in the state regardless of whether he won by 1 vote or 1000 votes, he still earns all of the state’s electoral votes. This is what Pekec was saying - this leads to some votes being worth less than others because of the imbalance in margins. Naturally, each vote in a state where the winner had a small margin would be more critical than in a state with a large winning margin. And because there are 51 separate jurisdictions in which this happens, the number of votes that are left behind is compounded 51 times. But why does this matter? Well, if you were a Republican voter in California, which has historically voted democratic, wouldn’t you feel frustrated that no matter who the candidates are, you always vote for the losing candidate (and therefore you might as well have stayed home)? It’s not morally just for votes to count more in battleground states than safe states.
My subpoint B was that close outcomes are much LESS likely in direct popular vote, as supported by John R. Koza of Stanford.. This is true. So because close outcomes are less likely, recounts are also much less likely, and we wouldn’t have to go through the “arduous process,” as my opponent claims. Also, my opponent’s source for his refutation to my argument regarding the 1876 election came from Wikipedia, a completely NON-RELIABLE source since it can be edited at will by anyone with Internet access. For all we know, the article might have been written by a member of the KKK. Once again, my opponent’s argument is not substantiated by evidence, while mine are.
By the way, I have nothing against Hayes - I just used him as an example.
Also, DPV DOES ensure vote equality.
Bush won the most votes in 2004, thus he won the presidency. Simple. But this isn’t the same as the STATE winner-take-all system. I already mentioned why some votes are worth more in close outcomes, and why this is significant. Also, I didn’t say that close elections as a whole are immoral - I said that when state margins are close, then it’s immoral due to the imbalance in the value of the votes. Again, I already addressed this above. Additionally, small states ARE over-represented. If you’ll remember my previous source, John Mark Hansen of the Michigan Law Review, individual voters small states do have 3-4 times the power of individuals in large states. This is against the “one person, one vote” standard and thus is immoral because it gives some people more power than others. If you were a resident of Pennsylvania, wouldn’t you feel frustrated if your vote has ¼ the power of one from Wyoming? Of course. My opponent also mentioned abolishing the Senate - the resolution clearly states “in presidential elections,” so that argument is beyond the scope of this debate.
In response to my opponent’s attack on my framework, if the HOR is dominated by one party, then it’s not fair to the candidates even now that the HOR chooses the president if no one wins a majority. The two systems are equal in that regard.
I have proven why direct popular vote is indeed the more moral system, which is the weighing mechanism that my opponent has agreed to - thus I urge a pro ballot. Thank you for your time and attention.
thett3 forfeited this round.
Phloem04 forfeited this round.
I'm going to respond to my opponents 3rd round, then explain why a Con vote is called for in this debate.
Winner takes all is bad?
My Opponent continualy argues that votes for the losing candidate are "wasted". I brought up a card attacking this argument, and she's made no response to it. She has shown no distinction between voting for a candidate and having them lose in your state, and voting for a candidate and having them lose nationwide. This is significant because as I've previously stated, winner takes all is how elections work and how they would continue to work under direct popular vote. Since it's the last round, she cannot explain this. So you can completely drop any offense coming off this point, because it isnt an attack on the EC---its an attack on democracy in general.
Further, my Opponent argues:
"Naturally, each vote in a state where the winner had a small margin would be more critical than in a state with a large winning margin" Wait, so you're saying that the vote of a moderate, level headed person in a swing state is more critical than the vote of a Bible-banging neocon in Texas, or a pacifist socialist in New York? Good, vote Con!
We cant consider the "votes wasted" argument for all the reasons I've already stated.
My Opponent further argues that close elections are less likely under DPV, so what? Further, I've already turned this argument and her only reply is that my source is "unreliable". K, my source linked a variety of historical sources supporting a fact of common knowledge; everyone knows that the Whites in the South suppressed the Black vote in the post-war period. Conversly, her source merely asserts things with no logical link. This you can see that it's merely an appeal to authority.
Pro absolutely ignores my satire laced but logical response to this. Extend it, and vote Con based off a dropped refutation. Pro argues that some states get "3-4 times the power" of other votes, yet does not ONCE explain the methodology, or any impact what-so-ever. I asked if we should abolish the senate for giving the small states "too much power" and my opponent does nothing but state that it's not a topical question. If we dont want small states to have a voice than we ought to abolish equal representation in the senate, that follows my opponents logic! Why should a voter in Wyoming get literally 30x+ the vote of someone in Texas?
Recall how I argued that the EC requires candidates to gain an absolute majority in order to win, and the DPV would not. My Opponents only response is that the House would decide the winner under DPV if no one got a majority. I argued that the House would be biased and her ony response is that my system, the EC, has a similar failing. The problem is that there has been ONE election in the history of the United States where the House has had to decide, and that one was for all practical purposes a direct election! So such a problem is much more likely under DPV so the disadvantage is admittadly not totally unique, but still a burden on the affirmation.
Again my Opponent has continually argued for a criterion of morality, but has never once done anything other than assert that her position is more moral! No explanation what-so-ever as to why or how. She hasnt defended the morality of any of her points, so she loses because she hasn't met her own framework. Therefore you should default to Con.
A. Battle-ground states are good!
I argued that battle-ground states are good because they cause candidates to make a platform that is a represntation of the American people. My Opponent has completely dropped this argument, so extend it all and vote Con based off that.
B. No impacts coming from the Pro case
I've stated numerous time that my opponents arguments are impactless. She has completely dropped these attacks, so extend them all.
C. Most of her arguments have been turned.
I turned the following arguments during this debate: Close elections, Battle-ground states, over-representation, and the framework. She's made absolutely response to ANY of these turns, so every single advantage and every single impact (although I didnt see any, you might) flow to the Con side in this debate.
Therefore, I urge a Con ballot.
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||2||3|