Monday, December 21, 2015

Rep. Dooley: Nebraska and Maine’s Hybrid Model for Electing President a ‘Reasonable Solution’

Representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk) wrote the attached column for the Boston Globe in support of creating a hybrid model for electing the President similar to what Nebraska and Maine already use. This column ran in the Globe West edition on Sunday.

For the past few years there has been a movement afoot to do away with the Electoral College in favor of electing our president simply by popular vote.

At face value, this might seem to create a simple and streamlined approach to electing our president, but in reality it will serve to minimize the voice of residents in lower-population states such as Massachusetts.

By oversimplifying the electoral process, candidates would concentrate their time and resources on the most populous states.

A more reasonable solution, not requiring a constitutional amendment, would be to revamp the Electoral College and create a hybrid model similar to the versions Nebraska and Maine have installed in recent years.

This hybrid method takes into account the popular vote by automatically awarding the overall state winner the two electoral votes the state gets from having two senators.

More importantly, this model increases the importance of congressional districts by having their electoral votes go to the top vote-getters in those districts, as opposed to the statewide winner-take-all method utilized in 48 states. Switching to it might put some of Massachusetts’ nine other electoral votes in play.

This hybrid method would have a very positive effect for a diverse state such as Massachusetts.

Currently we are considered a safe state for the Democratic Party, so neither candidate spends much time trying to garner support among average voters. Campaign stops in Massachusetts are done solely to fill the candidate’s coffers by meeting with the über rich rather than to hear the concerns and hopes of the majority of voters.

In addition, I believe this will help spur debate and participation in the electoral process. Instead of the nightly news calling Massachusetts 30 seconds after the polls close, the votes will need to be counted. If a candidate’s message is able to resonate with a particular region, he or she would have the ability to win the vote of that particular congressional district. Citizens would no longer feel hopeless and disenfranchised because their votes did not matter.

The goal is for more people to become engaged and active in our political process. Having presidential candidates spend time and resources in the Commonwealth will enhance the political process and make Massachusetts more relevant in the presidential election.