States' Rights in Elections? No Way!

States should not have the freedom to assign electors as they choose. If I had my way, they would have no say in it whatever. We are a long way from the time when William Penn could sink the country if we didn't cater to his ego and effectively let him organize his state so that only his vote counts. Voting should be fair. Scientifically neutral mechanisms should be developed to organize representative districts and elections should be managed by internationally monitored bodies to insure that they fairly represent the will of the people.

Our election process is a disgrace that would make the authors of the constitution puke. I'm certain they didn't like the compromise they had to make to keep William Penn and the other big landholder/governors in the fold but I'm equally sure they would be astonished to find that their descendants would behave with such dishonor.

More to the point, though, I'm convinced that gerrymandering violates equal protection and due process and is thereby unconstitutional. It might be that, in the case of state offices, they are allowed to manipulate their election processes so that the results actually disenfranchise voters (though I only say this to be polite, it's only arguable, not right).

For federal elections, I do not think that states are allowed to tinker with the elections (even if we have a Supreme Court that would not rise to the challenge) so that the result demonstrably conflicts with the right answer. Fortunately, in elections, we have a standard that can be measured to tell us the right answer, majority. And it can tell us when we have the wrong one.

The changes Republican controlled states propose would, demonstrably, have resulted in a presidential election where the answer would have been wrong. Obama would have gotten a majority of the vote but Romney would have had the presidency.

Not only does that mean they would have violated the basic tenet of democracy, majority rule, but they would have made it so that many of their citizens had votes that, for practical purposes, don't count.

That happens anyway in some cases. The electoral college has fundamentally the same problem. However, it is not subject to manipulation. A person who is powerfully motivated to have their voice count can move to a battlefield state. But, nobody can escape gerrymandered districts. They change whenever too many of the wrong people get power, thus keeping them permanently disenfranchised and those people have no meaningful recourse.

There is also the awful stink test. Unlike disgusting uses of the freedom of speech, there is no benefit to society of tolerating partisan manipulation of elections. We should change it and the first thing that should go is the idea that states have the right to choose their own electors however the partisan majority feels will serve them best.