LETTER – First past the post, electoral college were designed for the 1800s

Re: U.S. electoral college has similar advantages to our FPTP

WELL, I’VE GOT TO GIVE IT TO MEL for standing tall on his support for both the US Electoral College and BC’s First Past the Post. Mel is one of a dwindling number of people who are still holding out for systems designed in and for the 1800s.

Over the past few decades, a majority of US citizens have opposed the Electoral College as it no longer applies. “The founding fathers established the Electoral College as a means to balance the desires of some for the direct election of the president with that of others who felt Congress should elect the president.” This in a time when “the average voter would have little opportunity to educate himself (yes, himself) on the candidates — assuming they could even read.”

Similarly in Canada, a consistent majority of voters support moving away from FPTP, a system which works when only two parties run. With more than two parties on the ballot, a proportional system much better reflects the popular vote while offering voters more choice.

Mel shows his cards when he laments that “the high-population urban areas will dominate the outcome.” All PR systems suggested for BC have offered local representation, as doing away with it is just non-negotiable. That urban areas are more densely populated is a fact, whether we use FPTP or a proportional system.

Since the beginning of governance, there has been constant change. We strive to live in egalitarian societies, societies which include all of us, women, people of colour, different ethnicities. We must constantly adapt our systems to reflect those changes. Making sure that all votes cast have equal and effective weight in deciding our governments is an obvious and worthy step in improving our democracy.


About Mel Rothenburger (9652 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

6 Comments on LETTER – First past the post, electoral college were designed for the 1800s

  1. Dawne Taylor // November 5, 2020 at 11:32 AM // Reply

    Thanks Anne. You are right on

  2. First past the post is good when only a winner matters. when the goal is representation, however – as in Canadian federation, tradition and requirement – then proportional rep is the only rational, fair, and decent method. It reflects our society, geographically, culturally, ethically, and so on. Let us not emulate America! P.graham

    • Tony Brumell // November 5, 2020 at 11:24 AM // Reply

      I agree that pro rep is a better system for multi party systems ,But it is not the only fair and equitable way to elect good people. Consider a total abdication of the party system and going to non partisan politics. or even a normal system with nothing but “free” votes in the ledge would achieve similar ends. So much time money and good practice or good programs are spent (waisted ) on party politics. AS new comers have almost zero influence of any party’s agenda.

  3. Ian MacKenzie // November 5, 2020 at 8:21 AM // Reply

    Couldn”t agree more, Anne

  4. R Marcus Lowe // November 5, 2020 at 8:14 AM // Reply

    Genius. Simply said, straight to the point.

  5. If change must happen them maybe we could end up governing like municipalities do it…surveys, info sessions, open houses and technocrats telling stories.

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