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I believe that this letter answers all of the questions which the Committee asked me to report on and I hope that it further clarifies my testimony and my position. May I again thank the Committee for its kind interest and attention. Please do not hesitate to call upon me if I can be of any further assistance in this matter. Respectfully submitted.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III,
A88ociate Professor. B'nai B'RITH WOMEN,
RESOLUTION ON ELECTORAL COLLEGE REFORM It became apparent in the last Presidential election that the Electoral College no longer serves the purpose for which it was designed.
With the modern media of communication, we feel that direct vote is more feasible and more democratic.
B'nai B'rith Women urges that all necessary steps be taken by Congress to bring about elimination of the Electoral College prior to the 1972 election.
TOWARD OPTIMIZING DEMOCRACY--PART 1: THE BROWN PREFERENTIAL VOTING
Public dissatisfaction with the American method of voting has been brought to a head with the Presidential Election of 1968, where a minority winner in a three-way race, Richard M. Nixon, actually lost the popular vote by what ordinarily would be considered a landslide of opposition : 57% to 43%. To make matters worse, a real possibility now exists of having four major candidates on the ballot for President in 1972, each drawing millions of votes. In such a case, a candidate could actually win the election with less than 13% of the popular vote under the present electoral system, and with less than 26% of the vote under the direct popular vote method.
However, minority rule need not be tolerated. In a free society it is imperative that voting reflect the will of the majority, or at least the true preferences of the people.
Most Americans seem to favor abolishing the Electoral College system as outdated, unfair and undemocratic. However, until now a satisfactory substitute has not been offered.
The most common suggestion is to abolish the Electoral College and to elect the President and Vice President by direct popular vote. While this is a step in the right direction, it would be only a partial improvement over the present system, since minority candidates could still be elected. Whatever system is finally adopted, it is necessary that the winning candidate for an office be preferred by the voters over all other candidates running for that office. With direct popular voting in a three-way race for the Presidency, this requirement would be met only where one ticket receives a majority of the vote.
A voting system is needed which will assure that the winning candidate would win in separate two-way races over each remaining (losing) candidate and at the same time allow each voter to indicate his first choice for President without fear of throwing his vote away by voting for a man who seems to have little chance of being elected.
The solution is, e.g. in the case of a three-way race, that each voter indicates not only his first choice for President, but his second choice as wellwhich assures that if his first choice does not win, his second choice amounts to a vote to help decide between the two remaining candidates. In other words, in a race between Candidate A, Candidate B and Candidate C, the final results would show who would win in three separate races: A vs. B, A vs. C, and B vs. C. The winner of the election is the candidate who is favored over each of the other candidates when paired separately. This information is easily determined from the first and second choices of the voters in a three-man race. (A voter, of course, is not forced to indicate a second choice-nor even a first choice anymore than a voter under the present system must indicate a choice.-)
One of the great bonuses of this system is that the number of presidential candidates on the November ballot can be increased to any predetermined number. These candidates could be selected by a national all write-in primary held eight to ten weeks before the November election. The purpose of write-ins only in the primary is to prevent any candidate from having an unfair advantage over another. The number of candidates written in by a voter could be unlimited, theoretically, as long as the order of preference is specified. However, for practical reasons, an arbitrary limit may have to be imposed-perhaps 10, 12 or 15. Absentee balloting should be permitted in every state, at least for the National Primary, especially if it is held before Labor Day. An earlier primary is not recommended, since many voters' sentiments are quite changeable.
The minimum number of candidates placed on the ballots of all the states in the November election might be 8, 10 or 12. Write-ins, which could be dore tailed with candidates on the ballot, could be permitted in this election, but the total number of choices one voter could indicate for a single office would be equivalent to the number of candidates on the ballot running for that office. By the time of the November election each candidate will have his own vice presidential running mate, picked or at least approved by himself. It would be permissible for the same man to run for President on one ticket and for Vice President on one or more of the remaining tickets. The primary, however, would select no candidate for more than one presidential position on the No vember ballot. Choosing a running mate before the National write-in primary could be optional.
A slight possibility exists (especially in a close race) that no candidate is a clear cut winner. E.g., in the November election, Candidate A could be preferred over B, B preferred over C, and C preferred over A, in a race between 3 or more candidates; or A could be preferred over B, B over C, C over D, D over A, C over A, and D over B, (e.g.), in a race between 4 or more candidates, etc. In these examples, it is assumed that all the candidates "named" here are preferred over those not named, thus eliminating the others from the race. Of course, other combinations of preferences are possible, which could involve more of the remaining candidates, in a given race, who could be preferred over some, but not other candidates.
If no presidential candidate is preferred over all others, a National Runoff Election between the group of candidates preferred over all other candidates except themselves would be held two or three weeks after the regular November election, where the voters would have the understanding that if again no man is a clear winner (i.e, preferred over each of the others), the winner will be the candidate who would have required the fewest total number of reversals of single pairings (of individual voters) to make him preferred over all other candidates. Thus in the runoff election, some voters may wish to throw their support to candidates who they feel are closer to winning than others.
In those instances where candidates are to be elected for a “multiple office." such as a local school board, the first winner is determined by the general method outlined above. The second winner is determined as though the first winner were not on the ballot; the third winner is then determined as though the first and second winners were not on the ballot, etc., until the prescribed number of board or committee members are chosen.
Following is an example of how the national ballot might have appeared in the November, 1968 election. (Complete names are omitted here for sake of brevity.) The order of listing would be determined by the National Primary, according to the method described in the preceeding paragraph Republican Party:
Rockefeller-Reagan. Democratic Party:
Humphrey-Muskie. Republican Party:
Reagan-Rockefeller. American Independent Party :
Wallace LeMay. Democratic Party:
Romney-Rockefeller. Democratic Party:
McGovern-McCarthy. Peace and Freedom Party:
Gregory-Spock. Socialist Labor Party:
Blomen-Taylor. Prohibition Party:
Munn-Fisher. The ballot could be marked as follows, where the voter's first choice is indicated by a "1," the second choice by a “2," etc., until the voter indicates twelve choices, if he wishes : Republican Party:
Choice Rockefeller-Reagan ---------------
Nixon-Agnew -----------Democratic Party:
Humphrey-Muskie Republican Party:
Reagan-Rockefeller -American Independent Party:
McGovern-McCarthy ----Peace and Freedom Party:
Gregory-Spock ----Socialist Labor Party:
Blomen-Taylor Prohibition Party:
Munn-Fisher Another way to mark the ballot could be as follows, perhaps by punching out the appropriate holes (shown in table as X's) on a data processing card :
Note: The X punched out under No. 1 is the voter's first choice, etc. Such cards would enable electronic computers to determine the winners.
In order to prevent the major parties from monopolizing the National Primary by placing all or nearly all the candidates on the November ballot, a minor political party which does not win a spot on the ballot by means of the Primary might still be permitted a place on the ballot, according to current procedure governing such parties. (A candidate already selected by the National Primary would not be prohibited such possible additional positions on the ballot.)
It may also be desirable, in order to prevent one or more major parties from monopolizing the November ballot, to restrict the number of ballot positions
for one party (as chosen by the Primary) to a number proportional to that party's strength in the last Presidential Election; but a single party might be allowed a maximum of two or three unrestricted November ballot positions if so chosen by the Primary (so as not to discriminate against a new party or possibly a party which lost by an overwhelming margin in the previous election).
National political nominating conventions need not necessarily be discontinued. Before the National Primary, any political party could indicate its first choice for President, and perhaps its second choice, third choice, etc., as suggestions for its national following. Political parties, as such, are strictly private organizations and should be free to conduct their own affairs in any manner as they see fit insofar as any private group or club is legally free to function.
It should be emphasized that this system, which might best be identified as "The Brown Preferential Voting Method," is by no means the same as other types of so-called "preferential voting." E.g. with ordinary preferential voting, the first place choices for a candidate are all lumped together and assigned a certain number of points for each such choice; al second place choices are lumped together and assigned one point less for each such choice, etc. Such an arbitrary system by no means must give the correct results.
For instance, in deciding between Candidate A and Candidate B in a ten man race, the only important fact should be whether the individual voter prefers A over B or B over A—not whether A and B are the voter's first and second choices respectively, first and tenth choices respectively, or ninth and tenth choices respectively, etc. Under such an unfortunate point system, one can still throw away his vote by indicating preference for one or more candidates who can't win. Actually, in a ten man race, if a first choice is arbitrarily awarded ten points, the second choice nine points, etc, on down to one point for the tenth choice, one voter who favors Candidate A over Candidate B could outvote four voters who favor Candidate B over Candidate A, simply if those favoring Candidate B over A also prefer eight other candidates (who may not even be in the running) to Candidate A. In other words, one voter would be giving 10 points to Candidate A while the other four voters, who have chosen Candidate B as their ninth choice, would each be giving 2 points to Candidate B.
If a first choice is arbitrarily awarded 9 points, on down to 1 point for a ninth choice and 0 points for a tenth choice, then one voter could outvote eight voters. This is the type of thing that would be eliminated under "The Brown Method," where one's vote or part of one's vote would not count against him, except possibly in the unlikely event where no one candidate is preferred over all others, thereby forcing a second and final election, where again if no one candidate is preferred, the candidate coming closest would win.
If action is taken promptly, a constitutional amendment can be proposed and ratified in time for the 1972 Presidential Election, which will insure fair and democratic Presidential elections for the first time in the history of our country.
NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS,
San Mateo, Calif., January 17, 1969. Hon. BIRCH BAYH, Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: The National Federation of Independent Business was very pleased to see your reintroduction of S. J. Res. 1. You are to be congratulated on the amount of support you already have in the Senate as evidenced by the co-sponsors of the measure.
As you know, we testified in favor of this legislation during the 90th Congress and would like to go on record once more in support of the measure. If you feel that we can be of any assistance to you in speeding this legislation through the Congress, please do not hesitate to ask us.
For your information, I am enclosing a copy of our press release issued during the 90th Congress following a nationwide poll of our members on S. J. Res. 2. You may find it interesting to note that Federation members in every State supported the bill by substantial majorities. Once more, assuring you of our fullest cooperation and support, Sincerely yours,
GEORGE S. BULLEN,
PRESS RELEASE OF THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS, INC.
The Brief Facts
per cent opposed, with 7 per cent undecided. Insofar as the nation's independent business proprietors are concerned, the electoral method of electing a President of the United States should be scrapped in favor of the election being based on a majority of the popular vote by the population as a whole.
This is reflected in the result of a nationwide poll just completed by the National Federation of Independent Business on Senate Joint Resolution No. 2, by Senator Birch Bayh, Ind., which would amend the constitution to effect this change in the method of electing.
The results show 75 per cent in favor, 18 per cent opposed, with 7 per cent undecided. In
- the vote was — per cent in favor, - per Name of State cent opposed, with - per cent undecided.
This proposed change in the national election law is expected to create a great deal of interest. The opposition viewpoint appears to base its position on the belief that such a method would destroy the two-party system and open the door for formation of other parties.
Supporters, who contend the present system weakens the smaller states claim that 90 per cent of the respondents to a poll conducted among 8,000 state legislators want a change in the present method, and also that the American Bar Association has called the present system archaic and dangerous."
Special note to editors : Tabulation of the state results attached. But bearing in mind the old saw about the government statistician who drowned while wading across a river with an average depth of two feet, we wish to make it clear as we have on past occasions, that approximately 85 per cent of the Federation membership is located outside the nation's few huge metropolitan centers.
DO YOU FAVOR PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BY MAJORITY POPULAR VOTE OF THE PEOPLE?
STATE BREAKDOWN FIGURES
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