Saturday, July 7, 2012

Delegate vs Popular Election Systems

The experience of the recent NAD election, that was based on a delegate election system, is a learning experience for me.  I did some armchair 'net research on the pros and cons of having an election that is based on delegate system versus a popular vote.

Emphasis: I am not arguing or agreeing on anything, but instead just sharing knowledge, and I believe maybe the more we learn, the better we can shape NAD to what we want.

So, I look at our good and supposedly-great country as a model, since we use electoral college system, which is just like delegate system, to select our presidents.

One of main reasons our country founders did not choose popular vote system for our president elections were because they did not trust democracy.  Irony!

They believed that popular vote can defeat the true purpose of electing the BEST president because the people can skew voter counts from those few but larger states simply to gain the majority easily, preventing other smaller states from choosing the president that they believed in.  For example, states like California and Texas (my assumption) alone could probably have majority of required votes over many smaller states like Delaware, etc., combined so democracy such that everyone has equal access to politics are pretty much blown out of the water.

So the country founders established electoral college with fixed number of electors (aka delegates), so that the popular vote can vote only for their electors who WERE SUPPOSED TO CAST THEIR VOTES (key point emphasized) according to their voters that they represent. There were only 8 electors who "betrayed" their voters and cast their votes on opposing party in the entire US history (If i read this fact correctly in the reference below).

So, going back to NAD, I see many people wanting to change the election system to a popular vote model rather than the current delegate model.  I fear this change without having a real analysis.

Instead I believe we should have worked more closely with our state associations, since they are the ones sending your delegates, and even better, work with your delegates directly to ensure that their vote REFLECTS the popular vote in your state.

For example, in Indiana, the Indiana Association of the Deaf set up a survey to poll Indiana community on our choices, and we know our delegates took that information and voted, on our behalf, at the NAD convention.  Although we lost our candidate we chose, we believed we did our duty and our delegates voted whom we wished.

Ask yourselves, have you, from other states that sent the remaining 126 delegates (128 total delegates, right?), worked with your delegates directly, and know exactly how they voted at the NAD convention, etc.?

My apologies for making this so long, but hopefully you can just skip this and move on to whatever strikes your fancy without bashing this dialogue baselessly.




ridor9th said...

Already beat you to it when I made a vlog explaining the *same* thing you just wrote on your blog. I did that ... last week.


Jay said...

Oh you did? Which vlog?

Ha, then great minds think alike, no?


Anonymous said...

Thank you Jay for this post. Clear.

Always good to see multiple postings on a topic, not just one. Lane

Jay said...

I finally got the time today to sit down and look through Ridor9th blogs and found this blog where he discussed delegate voting system. It can be found here at

Everything he said seem correct and parallels with what I researched except for one thing. I do not think the delegate system was formed due to the lack of technology. I think even if we had full access to the internet and all kinds of technologies, the popular vote can backfire (using Ridor9th's example where members could be "wolves in sheep clothes". Furthermore, popular vote can be skewed by "mass hysteria" or other improper actions in return for votes, etc. Lastly, even if the voting was honest and perfect, bigger states with more votes will always defeat smaller states by virtue of population and membership numbers, so the smaller states would simply lose interest and fall out.

I still believe delegate voting system should still work, as long as we know who the delegates are, that delegates truly are passionate about the voting and democracy process (e.g., listen to the public that they represent), and the ballots are open and transparent (we see who voted for whom).

Paul said...

Jay, I concur with you and Ridor about delegate system. I think it is wise to keep delegate system than popularity system. There are plenty of wolves in sheep's clothing.

I was at the election and I saw the process. I am trying to remember if there was anything improper. I am still thinking hard, but I was having fun there. I did not represent anyone.

I understand that there was 55% of delegates being firsttimers. Did that contribute to the confusion?

Hopefully in 2014 - the system will be better and have someone (neutral - like CPA - Audit firms) do the counting and avoid any tainting of the system.

Something to think about!