John Koza’s Big Myth: “Every Voter Equal”

2011/04/05
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NPV’s most preposterous claim

The National Popular Vote interstate compact would wipe away state lines and turn the entire nation into one giant “single-member district” for presidential elections. This, according to computer scientist and NPV inventor John Koza, will make “every voter equal.” That is the title of Koza’s self-published book and the lead slogan employed in support of NPV. And it is preposterous.

The job of every campaign consultant and campaign pollster is, ultimately, to design a campaign plan that discriminates among voters. That is what campaign strategy is—the allocation of scarce campaign resources in what is hoped will be the most effective way. NPV would give more power to these strategists to discriminate among voters.

The Electoral College, because it is based on the political calculation in Congress (that is, each state gets two Senators regardless of size), gives a boost to less populous states. It also brings campaign strategy down to the state level, turning presidential elections into 51 separate campaigns and pulling campaigns toward the most evenly divided “swing” states.

NPV assumes that by wiping away state lines–eliminating both the boost for small population states and the pull toward centrist states–their plan would suddenly make “every voter equal.” For a student of the hard sciences–math and computers–like John Koza, this assumption might seem to make sense. Yet the assumption ignores the realities of politics–political campaigns are neither mechanical nor predictable. Any presidential election process is ultimately handed over to campaigns–those strategists and pollsters–to decide who to target, what to say to whom, and who to ignore. By wiping away state lines and removing the necessity of building national coalitions and swinging those most moderate states, NPV simply hands over even more power to campaign insiders.

In place of state lines, campaign strategists would draw their own lines based on race, economics, ideology—whatever the consultants can use to discriminate effectively among voters.

NPV insinuates that with their plan, every voter would see the same ads the same number of times, hear the same speeches, see the same news coverage, perhaps shake hands with each candidate .03 times. Put this way, NPV’s claim is even more clearly erroneous.

No competitive election system can ensure that every voter is privy to the same information when casting his or her vote. While a single-member district makes voters mathematically equal, the dynamics of political campaigning will always, in the real world, treat voters unequally. NPV would eliminate the geographical balance and political moderation of the Electoral College system in pursuit of a chimerical notion of voter equality. In the end, NPV would change but not eliminate campaign strategy and would hand over more power to the strategists.

 

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16 Responses to John Koza’s Big Myth: “Every Voter Equal”

  1. jibina on 2011/07/05 at 4:44 PM

    it is very good we know the political things

  2. saleem on 2011/07/05 at 5:19 PM

    National Popular Vote seems definitely advantageous over the Electoral College because it gives equality to all voters but will it pass the political hurdles and strategies effectively?

  3. E. Blue on 2011/07/05 at 5:31 PM

    The NPV goal to wipe out state lines would allow each vote to count, as it was written in the Constitution. The Electoral College has basically allowed a legal course to avoid the need to appeal to the individual voter. By campaigning state-by-state it gives voters a sense that they are voting with their state versus their individual mindset. Political rallies for candidates that are meant to draw out certain demographics instead of appealing to real political issues. These rallies create a sense of horde mentality that undermines the original intent of one-person one vote. Campaigners now will obviously still tour state-by-state but candidates may no longer be able to draw mass crowds of supports by means of exploiting each state's stereotypes. te's individuality.

    • Oloccorb on 2011/07/10 at 2:33 PM

      No instead, they will only visit large population centers. Why waste money going to Montana when all you need to win an election is to sway the big cities of the North East, California, and a few others. The idea is that the President is President of ALL the United States will be lost when all he/she will need to focus on is the needs and desires of those that live in large cities. So how is that fair and equal? If you are a farmer, rancher or a business owner in a small town then your vote will be meaningless. For a real world example look at how the big cities of California rape the small communities in the rest of the of their water, resources and taxes.

  4. Amm on 2011/07/05 at 5:51 PM

    Yeah i accept with this concept for the presidential election. But this wont be good for all other kind of elections. But the concept of individual voter is important is appreciable one.

    • Rajesh Chaturvedi on 2011/07/05 at 7:40 PM

      Equality of voters is cited to be one of the major cause that electoral college must be abolished. This is something that would allow NPV to motivate or persuade opposition in their favor.

  5. Sreenath PG on 2011/07/05 at 7:54 PM

    Well it sounds good but it won't be a cakewalk for whoever planning to implement this law/policy. However there is no question about the fact that all voters in the state or country are equals.

  6. shanthiimurugesh on 2011/07/05 at 8:26 PM

    The National Popular Vote would turn the entire nation into one giant “single-member district” for presidential elections. This, according to computer scientist and NPV inventor John Koza, will make “every voter equal.” So, I support the presidential election. This would be equity for all the voters.

  7. selva on 2011/07/05 at 9:07 PM

    The individual vote is very important in election.However there is no question about the fact that all voters in the state or country are equals.

  8. Elora on 2011/07/05 at 9:20 PM

    Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.NPV is very important in election procedure.

  9. Undertaker on 2011/07/05 at 9:37 PM

    It is a good idea but i have doubt that it will make any sense on fake politics.I have hope on national popular vote and there is no doubt that any part of state and country peoples made equals.I appreciate it.Thank you….

  10. Zoran on 2011/07/06 at 8:58 AM

    It is the good thing for someone to participate in declaring of some decision, its beter thing to give own opineon about it, to coment something,… But wrong thing is to denied without saying why.

  11. Kshitij on 2011/07/06 at 10:42 AM

    "No competitive election system can ensure that every voter is privy to the same information when casting his or her vote" …These lines stand very true in todays world.

  12. Oloccorb on 2011/07/10 at 2:20 PM

    People who thing NPV is good idea obviously do not live in a sparsely populated area. As ignored as they are now they will not even be a factor if the Electoral college is eliminated. Politicians, and their policies, will focus ONLY on large population centers. In fact a President could get elected on a promise to TAKE all the resources and food from rural areas and just provide them enough food and and a salary to survive so they can produce food and energy to support our cities.

    • JrR on 2011/12/31 at 8:32 AM

      A good example of this is the state of NY. The governor gets elected mainly by a downstate and Capitol vote, while rural areas really have no say.

  13. JrR on 2011/12/31 at 8:34 AM

    Oops, I meant Senators…

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