Letter: Time to change way presidents are elected


How would you like this system for the election of governors in Washington state?

1. Have each county choose how to run their elections. They could do mail-in or in-person only, have varying standards for absentee ballots and for voting qualifications (like picture ID required, written test required, etc.), and each county could decide, for example, where and how many drop boxes to have. Island County could decide to have one drop box for the whole county (other states do this) so, Camano voters, for example, would have to come to Coupeville or wherever to drop off their ballots. Each county could decide under what conditions ballots get thrown out.

2. Each county would be assigned by the state two election representatives, plus one rep for each, say, 100,000 residents. Garfield County, with 2,300 total residents, would get three reps. Island County, with 86,000 residents, would get three reps. Spokane County, with 500,000 residents, would get seven reps. King County, with 2.2 million residents (100 times the number in Garfield County) would get 24 reps (eight times the number in Garfield County). Those reps would go to a meeting three weeks after election day, and would be expected, though not required, to vote for the candidate selected by a majority of the accepted ballots in their county.

3. The candidate with the most number of election representative votes from the counties would be elected governor.

4. Under this system, counties with large majorities of either Republicans or Democrats could be ignored by the candidates, who would concentrate on those few counties with close-to-equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans. Those “swing counties” would be the ones with the most say about who becomes governor.

That’s basically how we elect the president in this country. Compared to a system where, say, the person with the most votes wins(!), our current presidential election system is more complicated, biased in favor of small states, makes 41 states basically irrelevant because they’re not swing states, and enables a president to be elected without winning the most votes, as happened in 2000 and 2016 (and three other times).

We would never accept such a system for electing our governors or state legislatures. It’s time to change the way presidents are elected, so it complies with the same standard as your local school board, county commissioner, sheriff and state rep: the person with the most votes should be the president.

Tom Walker