The word alignment has linear roots as “to bring into line or into correct relative position,” according to Webster’s dictionary. This month, the editors of CIO magazine have aligned the content of this special issue to address one of your most important management dilemmas: aligning your business and technology strategies.
With that in mind, I’m going to take the liberty of jumping off that alignment platform to another one: How can we align our system of electing a U.S. president?
As the 107th Congress convenes and a new president is sworn in on Jan. 20, the call for electoral reform has reached a fever pitch. Some want to elect a president solely by popular vote. Others seem to think the current system works fine.
No matter what happens, however, both approaches are flawed. Think of your car, for example. Do you throw out your tires when you align your wheels? Of course not. You do a little of this and a little of that, and viola, your tires are adjusted. While Electoral College reform is certainly more complicated than tire alignment, I have an idea on how we can do it while preserving the best of both camps.
There are 538 votes in the Electoral College. On Nov. 7, 2000, about 102 million Americans participated in the presidential general election. My solution is this: For any given presidential election, divide the total number of Americans voting by the 538 electoral votes (from the recent election each electoral vote would represent 191,871 votes). Next, divide the total number of votes from each state by the 191,871 total (this number would fluctuate from election to election), and this gives you the number of electoral votes that state earned in the election.
The reason I like this approach is because it bases a state’s electoral votes on the number of people who actually vote. The more voters, the greater the number of electoral votes. For example, California currently has 54 electoral votes; under my proposal and using my formula, it would have 54.5. Florida now has 25 electoral votes; using my formula, the state would get 31. And New York, which has 33 electoral votes, would receive 32.6. (For a complete look at how all the states break down under my plan, visit www.cio.com/printlinks and click on my column for this issue.)
Another upside to my approach is this: It nukes network broadcasts the night of the election because no one would be able to tally the results until a total vote for the entire nation has been tabulated.
What do you think of this attempt to realign the electoral and popular vote? Hey, if you like it, send it to a congressman or senator representing your state. You can find their e-mail addresses at www.house.gov.