Of the 700 attempts to fix or abolish the electoral college, this one nearly succeeded

The fight to reform or abolish the electoral college began almost as soon as it was created, by those who created it. In 1802, Alexander Hamilton, one of the original architects of the electoral college, was so displeased with how it was being executed that he helped draft a constitutional amendment to fix it. Since then there have been more than 700 efforts to reform or abolish it, according to the Congressional Research Service.

George Wallace et al. standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Presidential candidate and former Alabama governor George Wallace arrives in Boston for a rally in June 1968. (AP)

Presidential candidate and former Alabama governor George Wallace arrives in Boston for a rally in June 1968. (AP)

The electoral college is once again confounding the country as it prepares to meet Dec. 14 to ratify the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States. Just one problem: President Trump refuses to concede to Biden, making baseless claims of fraud while his surrogates urge Michigan legislators to overturn the election by appointing their own electors.

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Biden is expected to win the electoral college by the same margin Trump did in 2016. Back then, Trump declared his victory a landslide, though he trailed in the popular vote by nearly 3 million while this time Biden leads the popular vote by nearly 7 million.

The closest the country has ever come to abolishing the electoral college was after segregationist Gov. George Wallace’s presidential campaign nearly threw the 1968 election.

Wallace was a man accustomed to winning power on technicalities. The state constitution in Alabama forbade governors from serving two consecutive terms. When his first term as governor was running out in 1966, his wife Lurleen ran to succeed him, promising to “continue, with my husband’s help, the same type of government.” She won in a landslide.

So, when he decided to run for president in 1968 as a third-party candidate, he had a trick up his sleeve there, too. His goal wasn’t to beat the Democratic or Republican candidates for the White House; it was to deprive both men of the 270 electoral votes needed to win, thus kicking the decision to the House. Then, as his biographer Dan Carter put it in a 2001 PBS documentary, Wallace would be “in a position to dictate to either candidate, ‘Alright, if you support me on the following issues, then I’ll deliver the presidency.’ ” And what were those issues? An end to federal desegregation efforts, for starters.

The Founders didn’t prepare for a president who refuses to step down, historians say

By this time, Wallace had learned the art of the dog whistle and was no longer saying things like “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” out loud. But he still inflamed rally crowds with his talk of rioters, hippies and anarchists. In the chaos of 1968, many White voters flocked to him. By October, polls showed him with 22 percent support nationally, more than enough for his electoral

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Fix voting and the Electoral College to head off a 2024 crisis

America lucked out. The 2020 election had all the ingredients for disaster: A president who called it rigged before a single vote was cast, a pandemic that produced an unprecedented mail-in response and attempts at inference by Russia and other adversaries.

‘It has to stop’: Georgia election official slams Trump’s rhetoric on voting fraud



a group of people sitting at a table: An election worker handles ballots as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta.

© Brynn Anderson, AP
An election worker handles ballots as vote counting in the general election continues at State Farm Arena on Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Atlanta.

Democracy can’t afford 2024 to be the debacle that 2020 almost was.

To repair the voting process that is the beating heart of a democracy, the Biden administration needs to create a bipartisan commission to address two principal problems.

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The first is the sanctity of the vote itself and the right of every adult citizen to participate. 

The mechanics of the most recent election failed to convince a large fraction of the populace that votes were fairly cast and counted. We were amazed and encouraged that such a rickety, balkanized system displayed no material evidence of fraud.

Yet, the methods of counting and recounting are far from transparent. Nor is there much rigor in the timing or the tallying of votes at the state and local level. 

A commission should determine what steps to take at the state and federal levels to ensure the right to register and vote easily anywhere; the right to have all votes definitively counted and, where necessary, recounted; and a guarantee that national and state totals are announced in an authoritative non-partisan way in an expedited manner.

Make better use of technology

Many of the answers undoubtedly lie in better use of technology. Individual tax returns are highly confidential and personal documents, yet 89% of Americans file them electronically from home or office. A federal statute 20 years ago made electronic signatures legally valid.

So why can’t the country with the best technology brains in the world find more efficient methods of voting than lining up for hours or sticking something in the mail and hoping it gets there in time? Or better methods of counting than a process that takes several weeks?

And how can this more efficient process be secure, trusted and independent of interference by foreign governments or candidates themselves? 

The second challenge for the commission is the Electoral College. In four elections out of six in this century, the winner of the national popular vote has lost or nearly lost the Electoral College. 

This year, Joe Biden won three swing states — Wisconsin, Georgia and Arizona  — by less than three-quarters of a percentage point. If Donald Trump had changed the minds of  just 22,000 voters in those states, electoral votes would have tied at 269, and the House of Representatives, with each state caucus casting one vote would have determined the president, almost certainly inciting deep bitterness

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College Football Playoff Notebook: The Ohio State Conundrum Has an Easy Fix | Bleacher Report

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields throws a pass against Indiana during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State beat Indiana 42-35. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

Jay LaPrete/Associated Press

Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson remain atop the College Football Playoff rankings, but Ohio State is the biggest story of the week.

Because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the program, the No. 4 Buckeyes didn’t travel to Illinois last Saturday. As a result, they’re now in jeopardy of falling below the Big Ten’s arbitrary six-game minimum to compete in the Big Ten Championship Game.

That scenario has stirred concern about Ohio State not winning a Big Ten title and impacting its CFP hopes. If either upcoming game (at Michigan State on Saturday or vs. Michigan next week) is canceled, the Buckeyes would fall short of six pre-championship games.

However, it shouldn’t be this complicated.

The best (and easiest!) decision is entirely in the Big Ten’s control. It’s this simple: Eliminate the six-game minimum and put Ohio State against Northwestern on the championship stage.

Results have almost officially shown this is what should happen. Indiana lost to the Buckeyes, and no other East Division program is better than 2-2 (Maryland). Ohio State and Northwestern can both clinch a division title with one more win.

Ohio State beat Northwestern in the 2018 Big Ten title game.

Ohio State beat Northwestern in the 2018 Big Ten title game.Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Might some critics believe the Big Ten is catering to Ohio State? Who cares? Since the Buckeyes are the best option to represent the league in the playoff, make it happen!

This six-game minimum is exclusive to 2020a year in which we’re making it up along the wayso why should this suddenly be an immovable obstacle?

Just look at the ACC.

Hours before Tuesday’s CFP release, the ACC announced it will evaluate Notre Dame, Clemson and Miami on a nine-game league schedule instead of 10. The league literally removed a game for No. 2 Notre Dame and is not rescheduling a 10th for No. 3 Clemson. Yet the only people even mildly upset at the decision are those who believe the ACC is protecting both teams’ playoff hopes.

So what?

This isn’t difficult.

Is the Big Tenthe conference that canceled the season first because it expected the rest of the sport to follow, said it would not reconsider, in fact reconsidered and started in late Octoberactually scared of some bad press? Maybe.

But just imagine the backlash if Ohio State is left out of the CFP because it didn’t win a conference championship. That would be markedly more intense than a quick-to-fade perception that the Big Ten wants to protect Ohio State’s playoff hopes.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren

Big Ten commissioner Kevin WarrenMichael Conroy/Associated Press

Sure, this hypothetical might be irrelevant in two weeks. If the Buckeyes play both Michigan State and Michigan, they’ll either be 6-0 and heading to the Big Ten Championship Game or, after a loss, removed from CFP consideration.

These are not mutually exclusive points, though.

Unlike the Big Ten, the College Football Playoff selection committee has no minimum requirement for the number of games to be considered. In theory,

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Component failure in NASA’s deep-space crew capsule could take months to fix

Engineers are racing to fix a failed piece of equipment on NASA’s future deep-space crew capsule Orion ahead of its first flight to space. It may require months of work to replace and fix. Right now, engineers at NASA and Orion’s primary contractor, Lockheed Martin, are trying to figure out the best way to fix the component and how much time the repairs are going to take.

the inside of a building

In early November, engineers at Lockheed Martin working on Orion noticed that a power component inside the vehicle had failed, according to an internal email and an internal PowerPoint presentation seen by The Verge. Known as a power and data unit, or PDU, the component is a “main power/data boxes,” according to the email, responsible for activating key systems that Orion needs during flight.


Load Error

Orion is a critical part of NASA’s Artemis program

Orion is a critical part of NASA’s Artemis program, which aims to send the first woman and the next man to the Moon by 2024. The cone-shaped capsule is designed to launch on top of a future rocket called the Space Launch System, or SLS, a vehicle that NASA has been building for the last decade. To test out both of these systems’ capabilities, NASA plans to launch an uncrewed Orion capsule on top of the SLS on the rocket’s first flight in late 2021 — a mission called Artemis I.

While the SLS still has many key tests to undergo before that flight, the Orion capsule slated to fly on that first mission is mostly assembled, waiting in Florida at NASA’s Operation and Checkout Facility at Kennedy Space Center. NASA had planned to transfer the Orion capsule to the Multi-Payload Processing Facility (MPPF) at KSC on December 7th, though that rollout may be postponed due to this issue. When asked for a response, NASA directed The Verge to a quick blog post outlining the failure.

a dirty kitchen in a house: NASA’s Orion crew capsule, attached to the adapter and service module, with spacecraft adapter jettison fairings installed.

© Photo by Ben Smegelsky / NASA
NASA’s Orion crew capsule, attached to the adapter and service module, with spacecraft adapter jettison fairings installed.

Replacing the PDU isn’t easy. The component is difficult to reach: it’s located inside an adapter that connects Orion to its service module — a cylindrical trunk that provides support, propulsion, and power for the capsule during its trip through space. To get to the PDU, Lockheed Martin could remove the Orion crew capsule from its service module, but it’s a lengthy process that could take up to a year. As many as nine months would be needed to take the vehicle apart and put it back together again, in addition to three months for subsequent testing, according to the presentation.

Lockheed has another option, but it’s never been done before and may carry extra risks, Lockheed Martin engineers acknowledge in their presentation. To do it, engineers would have to tunnel through the adapter’s exterior by removing some of the outer panels of the adapter to get to the PDU. The panels weren’t designed to be removed

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It Is Time For College Football To Fix The Targeting Penalty

It is way, way past time to fix the targeting rule in college football. A rule that has good intentions, the targeting rule is simply misapplied far, far too often. The severity of the rule, and the lack of nuance with the penalty has too great of an impact on games, beyond what it should when you consider how often the rule and penalty gets misused.

The fact is no matter how much you create written guidelines for officials and the review crew, it still becomes a subjective decision, which means there will be errors. Anyone that watches college football with any regularity sees how frequently this rule gets misapplied, and how targeting in one game isn’t in another, and vice versa.

If an official makes a mistake on a holding call it’s just a 10-yard penalty. The player who held – or didn’t hold – isn’t ejected. When an official, or the review committee, makes a mistake on a targeting call the player flagged is ejected. There are far too many bad targeting calls being made, and it’s having far too much of an impact on games.

This was called targeting and the player was ejected. It shouldn’t have been called targeting, but it was, and then it was upheld. Two mistakes, and then the player is ejected. 

Simply put, the way that targeted is penalized needs to change.

1) Make targeting similar to unsportsmanlike conduct — There is a way to still make the penalty sting while limiting how impactful a missed call can be, and that is to make it like an unsportsmanlike penalty. The first time a player is flagged for targeting he gets a 15-yard penalty. The second time a player gets called for targeting he is ejected.

If you want to make it string even more then have it where a player that gets called for a second targeting penalty in a game not only gets ejected in that game, but he also gets suspended for the following game.

2) Review each targeting, but don’t stop the game — We constantly hear people whine about how long games take. One way to cut off a few minutes is to get rid of the targeting reviews in that moment. If a targeting happens then make the call, mark off the penalty and move onto the next play. There is no need for a review on a player’s first targeting.

Now, the issue is if targeting is misapplied then it could mean a player gets booted for a second targeting. What CFB could do to eliminate some of the reviews is to have the review crew look at the play between plays. They could even have a targeting specialist who focuses on targeting calls.

If the review crew judges it’s not a targeting then they can inform the referee between series or plays, and the targeting gets removed from the player’s ledger. It doesn’t change the penalty, but it means the player would still need to

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Berea school board backs effort to fix Ohio’s education funding formula

BEREA, Ohio — The Berea Board of Education at its Nov. 16 meeting passed a resolution endorsing the Fair School Funding Plan and urging state lawmakers to pass legislation aimed at fixing Ohio’s unconstitutional funding formula for education.

District Treasurer/CFO Jill Rowe presented the district’s five-year financial forecast to the board and indicated lawmakers are attempting to get the new funding law passed by Dec. 15.

“It’s very exciting news,” Rowe said. “In our current funding model, we’re compared (financially) to state averages and other school districts. This new model funds us locally and keeps the money here for our kids.”

The district currently receives $6,020 in state funding per student. If a child living in Berea, Brook Park, or Middleburg Heights attends a non-public school, however, Rowe said the per-student allocation is taken directly from the district’s bank account and given to the private/charter/community school.

The new state funding formula would base allocations not on state averages, but on local district demographics. It also would provide a separate funding mechanism for non-public schools.

Rowe said the Berea City Schools currently receives $7.4 million in state education funding. Under the proposed new formula, the district would receive $12.7 million. The state has indicated it will take six years to fully implement, Rowe emphasized.

“Most districts are going to be winners in the long run,” she said, provided the legislation passes in the current lame-duck session. “This is more equitable to the districts.”

“If this gets passed, we can be cautiously optimistic that future (state) budgets will benefit the district,” added board member Jeffrey Duke.

During her presentation, Rowe also indicated the district will begin deficit spending in 2022.

“We need to be concerned about watching our yearly expenses,” she said, noting discussions will begin between herself, Superintendent Tracy Wheeler, and Assistant Superintendent Michael Draves about “what we need to do when talking about future money for the district.”

Rowe did stress, however, the district continues to maintain a required cash balance equal to one month of operations, which is $7.5 million. The district is not projected to fall below that amount until 2024.

Read more stories from the News Sun.


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