## Monday, December 21, 2009

### Why Al Gore lost the Electoral College Vote.

Al Gore lost the 2000 Presidential Election, because he won California – here’s the math:

NAME--------- (EC) POP2000 -- Pop/EC
CALIFORNIA (54) 33,871,648 -- 627,253

NAME (EC) POP2000
WYOMING (3) 493,782
NORTH DAKOTA (3) 642,200
SOUTH DAKOTA (3) 754,844
MONTANA (3) 902,195
NEW HAMPSHIRE (4) 1,235,786
IDAHO (4) 1,293,953
WEST VIRGINIA (5) 1,808,344
UTAH (5) 2,233,169
ARKANSAS (6) 2,673,400
KANSAS (6) 2,688,418
--------------
Sum of 13 EC Votes = Calif. = 54 Pop=19,062,543 Pop/EC = 353,010
Population Difference EC= 0 Pop=(14,809,105) Pop/EC =(274,243)

Therefore, Al Gore had to convince 50% of Californians (or 16,935,824 voters) to vote for him, while G. W. Bush only had to convince 9,531,272 citizens in the thirteen states listed in this table, to vote for him; a difference of 7,404,552 voters. Imagine how different things would have been if only 1% of that difference - or 74,046 - had voted in Florida.

QUESTION: How did this system, which has worked so well for almost 200 years, become so totally distorted?

ANSWER: Congressional meddling and unintended consequences - consider the following:

HISTORY LESSON:
The Electoral College, as most school children learn, is defined in Article I, section II, Part 3 of the US Constitution, and provides that voters in each State cast their votes for “electors” who are pledged to elect a Presidential Candidate. The Electors subsequently meet and vote to elect the President and Vice President. The number of Electors is equal to the number of Congress (members of Senate plus the House of Representatives) from each State. {Many the goof-ball journalists forget are a few important facts.}. This is the way our Federal System of shared political power was created; to wit:
- the House was to be directly elected by the people (i.e., you and me),
- the Senate was appointed by the States (which was also erroneously changed (in my opinion) by the 17th Amendment), and
- the President was elected as a blend of both methods, culminating in the Electoral College.

KEY POINT: Membership in the House of Representatives was originally to have been proportional to a “head count” of 30,000 (primarily white men while later provisions and constitutional amendments created universal suffrage for all citizens). In order to compute the number of Congressional Districts in each State, a Decennial Census was required. HOWEVER, regardless of the population, each State MUST HAVE at lease one member in the House Currently, only ALASKA, DELAWARE, MONTANA, NORTH DAKOTA, SOUTH DAKOTA, and VERMONT have a single House Representative (who is elected on a statewide basis). Tax Bills must originate in the House, and "No Taxation without Representation".

This means that the number of members in the House of Representatives grew based on an expanding American population from 59 members in 1789, to 435 members by the 1920 census.

Thinking that they were "geniuses", in 1929 the number of House Seats was fixed at 435 members with PL 62-5. The Congress also resorted to using the “method of equal proportion” to allocate the available seats based on the Census data and thus only 385 seat (435 - 50 states) are available for allocation. This produces a distortion (also known as a “statistically standard deviation”) between the number of seats and the population within each State that they represent. Consider the data presented above:

NAME------------- EC ---- POP 2000 --- Pop/EC
CALIFORNIA ------54 --- 33,871,648 --- 627,253
ARKANSAS ---------6 ---- 2,673,400 --- 445,567
You will note a swing in EC representation of +140% (WOW!!!) Therefore it takes more voters in California than it does in Arkansas in order to obtain the same number of electoral votes – thus Gore’s win in California was achieved at the cost of "wasted votes".

KEY POINT: The problem is that the population of the United States has continued to grow: from 1.8 Million in 1789, to 13 Million in 1929, and to 249 Million in 1990. Thus each House seat represents a disproportionate share of the expanding population; and the apparent imbalance between the “popular vote” and the number of Elector College vote is the unintended result.

It is ironic that Alexander Hamilton identified this issue, in his proposition that State Governments be abolished in favor of a true National Government - Hamilton didn't win that fight, but his analysis - while about 200 years too early - seems to be spot on.

SOLUTION:
We must return to the original basis and intent of the US Constitution by making membership in the US House of Representatives DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL to the population of each States. This can be easily achieved by allowing the population of the smallest populated State (i.e., WYOMING with only 493,782 citizens) to be the Population Divisor used to allocate representation.

Consider (based on 2000 Census Data), when dividend into the Total U.S. Population of 280,849,847 by the “least populated State Divisor” of 493,782 would equal 569 members of the US House of Representatives, or an increase of 134 seats. When you take a moment to consider that over the past 100 years, this is an average of 13 seats per Decennial Census period – does it seem to be unreasonable?

EXAMPLE: If this methodology had been in place during the 2000 Election Cycle, then the results of the previous example would have been:
State ---------------------2000 EC -- Corrected EC -- Incr./Decrease
California ------------------- 54 --------- 71 ----------------- +17
Group of 13 States (above) - 54 --------- 65 ---------------- +11
Net Change +6 for Gore

When this methodology is extended to the entire country, Gore would have won the Electoral College by 9 votes - still a close election, but much more proportional to the popular vote. Funny how the world turns, eh? I wonder if Alex Hamilton is having a good laugh.

SUMMERY:
When suggested informally, the primary objections to this plan have been:
(a) more members of Congress will increase the cost of government, and
(b) the House Chamber is too small to seat the addition of any new members.

To first objection, I would answer that representation is the price of our democracy, and that it is better served by increasing the accountability of our government through proportional representation, rather than concentrating power in the hands of a small, "elitist club".

The second objection is more tangible. History indicates that the US Capital Building was previously enlarged (to its present size) in the middle 1800’s and that construction even continued during the Civil War (as a statement of unity and commitment to the future of the Nation). How can we say that the American Spirit is limited to the size of a building? While enlarging the House Chamber will doubtlessly spoil the overall geometric symmetry of the building, expending the east end of the House Chamber along the south face will preserve the architectural aesthetic of the frontal western facade. Given the gravity of this proposal, I would strongly (also) recommend planning enough space for more than 1,000 House Members which will allow for reasonable growth into the 22nd Century (our next 200 years!!!).

Conclusion: I urge you to amend PL 62-5 to return to a more proportional membership of the US House of Representatives. This issue is VERY IMPORTANT to smaller States (like NEW JERSEY) which are losing population and therefore our proportional influence over Federal Government, lease we become subservient to the larger States, as it was during the Articles of Confederation in the later 1780's.

########

READERS NOTE: I'm away for the Holidays;
I wish for everyone a Joyful, and Healthy 2010 - Bon annee por vous!

Health, Wealth and Happiness (Gesundheit, Wohlstand und Zufriedenheit)
[Sante', Richesse et Bonheur] {Salud, Riqueza y Felicidad}

## Wednesday, December 16, 2009

### The Uniform Primary Election Act

After the 2000 Presidential Election had been concluded, I began to consider and try to identify the failings of our Primary Elections; with the intent to improve the responsiveness of the election process to all of our citizens. Among the concerns which were voiced again in that election cycle, were the twin matters that (1) the eventual party nominee emerged far too early in the process to provide for a sufficiently spirited debate of the issues from any challenger, and (2) the High Electoral College (EC) States are bunched too closely together.

Were the United States composed of “national” or a “parliamentary” government, such concerns would be mute. However, because we are a “Federal” government, our electoral systems, policies and practices must address the regional geographical and demographics needs of our nation. Accordingly, the time is now upon us to develop and enact, by all States and Voting Federal Territories which conduct Primary Elections, something with I’ll refer to as: The Uniform Primary Election Act (UPEA) which shall contain the following provisions:

1st - Establish Eight (8) Primary Regions: Based upon the (then most current) 1990 census data, as applied to the number of votes assigned by the Electoral College

A) Establish 8 Voting Regions - The average size of each “voting region” would be approximately 54 Electoral Votes each.

B) Identify 8 of our largest “Key States” (currently: New York, Illinois, Texas, Washington, California, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) which as a group comprise a total of 205 Electoral Votes or 47% of the total 435 available.

C) Group together: one Key State and summation of other states and territories falling within the same general, geographical region (Related States); such that each region is of the approximate same number of Electoral Votes (See the Example which is contained within Appendix “A”)

D) The Regional Grouping facilitates more effective use of media and staffing resources.

NOTE: it would be possible for a candidate to campaign in ONLY the Key State of each Region, or ONLY in the Related States of each region, depending upon the level of campaign resources.

2nd Geographical Occurrence:
Regional Primaries should be held in order, so as to allow the maximum amount of candidate exposure, while minimizing the administrative effort needed. Naturally the results of the early regional activates will influence the votes in regions who later in the process, however the grouping of the Electoral Votes in blocks will maintain the viability of each region, and thus the voters interest in the process.

It is important to consider that Region 4 contains the widest geographical dispersion and the most number of State Primaries (17), thus it needs to be scheduled later in the process, so that its voters can obtain the benefits of media exposure which is generated in the preceding regions. A proposed schedule is contained within Appendix “B”

By combining and coordinating our nation’s primary election process into a uniform statute, the UPEA will:
- save money, by allowing candidates to focus their limited resources
- save time, by consolidating the election process
- insure that all citizen’s have the ability to influence the election process

Appendix “A” Description of Regional Primary Regions based upon Electoral College (EC) Election Values (a)

Region Large State (EC); % of Region Other States and Territories Total EC
(b) (c ) (T)
1(d) NY (31) 57% CN, ME, MA, NH*, RI, VT 54
2 IL (20) 34% IO, MI, MN, WS 58
3 TX (30) 54% AK, LA, MS, OK 56
4(e) WA (9) 17% AL, AS, AZ, CO, GU(t), HA, ID,
KS, MT, NB, NM, ND, OR, SD,
UT, WY 53
5(f) CA (52) 96% NV 54
6 FL (23) 40% AL, GA, MS, NC, PR(t), SC, VI(t) 58
7 OH (19) 40% IN, KY, TN, WV 47
8 PA (21) 38% DE, DC(t), MD, NJ, VA 55
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOTAL (205) 47% 435 100%

Footnotes:

a. EC = # of Electoral College distribution following the 1990 Census

b. Each region contains approximately the same number of electoral votes are
the other regions.

c. Each region is dominate by a “large state” who’s Electoral Advantage is wholly or
partially offset by the sum of Electoral votes contained within the other states of
the region (except Region 5 - see “f” below).

d. Region 1 contains the historical New Hampshire “First in the National Primary”.
In order the preserve New Hampshire’s tradition of being the “First in the National
Primary”; this Act should be designed as to permit the NH primary voting to begin
at 07:30 Hr.( ½ hour earlier than all other states in Region #1), and all other states
in this region shall be required to close their election polling booths at 20:30 Hr.
( ½ later than NH); thus preserving this quaint, historical custom

e. Region 4 contains the widest geographical dispersion and the most number of State
Primaries (17), thus it needs to be scheduled later in the process, so that voters in
these States can obtain the benefits of media exposure which is generated in the
preceding regions.

f. Region 5 is dominated by California.

Appendix “B” Election Occurrence of Primary Regional Rotation

Month 1st Tuesday of the Month 3rd Tuesday of the Month EC Count Dispersion
February 1 (*) 6 112 26%
March 7 4 (e) 212 49%
April 8 3 232 74%
May 2 5 (f) 435 100%

## Tuesday, December 8, 2009

### HOST COMMUNITY TAX EQUALIZATION

I think that most people accept the idea that State and County Government Services have been created to support the people of the State of New Jersey. We also understand that Not-For-Profit Organizations (NPO) are created in order to conduct socially desirable activities, for the benefit of the People of New Jersey, which are generally beyond the traditional functions of Government.

It is also economically beneficial and administratively prudent to cluster governmental units proximate to one another. Having widely scattered offices would doubtless increase the cost of governmental operations. It would also verge on a physical impossibility to require that governmental operating units be proportionally located within both the State and variously Counties of the State so that their costs would be equally shared by each municipality. Hence they tend to be located within the municipal borders of (what I call) a “Host Community”.

Naturally, governmental service units and NPOs occupied buildings, which if not owned by said organizations, would be considered to be a ‘ratable unit’ subject to real estate taxation by the Municipal Governmental Unit (City, Township, Boro, etc.) within which said building is located. Currently, government and NPOs occupied buildings are exempt from all state and local taxation in order to reduce the overall cost of operations – leaving more funding to support programs and activities.

KEY POINT

The problem rests with the past (and on going) explosive growth of Government and NPO Groups; as they carryout their prescribed functions for the overall betterment of society, at the expense and detriment to the economic well being of their Host Communities. “Clustering” government operating units produces an economic burden to the aforementioned Host Municipal Governmental Unit, by:

(1) Utilizing municipal services (Police, Fire, EMT, Environmental Protection, Municipal Administration Services, Building Code, etc.) without appropriate compensation (through Real Estate Taxation or other occupancy fees). POINT: In fairness, many State and County governments do provide “compensation” to their host communities – however such payments (in cash or kind) are not legally required and are subject to political influence, as well as not always being inadequate for the level of municipal service consumed or ratables lost.

(2) Depriving said “host community” of a commercially viable ‘ratable unit’ were such a unit subject to real estate taxation by the said Host Government (for example: consider the effect of State and County operations on the tax base of Municipal Governments of: Trenton, Mount Holly and Woodbury)

(3) The “free ride” on municipal service also acts like a subsidy to the non-Host Communities; because these communities are spared the added expense of governmental operations, while enjoying all of the resulting benefits of government services.

(4) Without the imposition of any additional marginal costs; State and County Governments (as well as NPOs) are free to grow and propagate without limitation, which creates an economic “crowding out” effect within the Host Community (much the same way a swamp moss kills a tree by smothering its leaves).

SOLUTION?

Given New Jersey’s propensity for “Home Rule”, the number and scope of existing State and County Governmental Operations (as well as those of NPOs) - it seems only reasonable that a Real estate Tax Rate should be applied to these (previously tax exempt) units. The additional tax revenue would easy the burden on the Host Community, while allocating the cost of government and NPO services more fairly among a larger (consumer / client / tax) base.

The problem then becomes a matter of allocation, since the Host Community would receive ALL of the additional revenue and the additional expense would be borne SOLELY by the NPO or Governmental Unit. The matter of allocation fairness could (in my opinion) be solved as follows:

FIRST - The Secretary of the Treasury of the State of New Jersey shall be empowered to develop a Statewide Real Estate SERVICE Rate of Taxation (based upon the stated value of all previously tax exempt property by County) which shall be applied to all: State, Country and NPO charted or doing business within the State. This tax shall be known as the SERVICE TAX RATE (and Service Property), and be freely published and distributed to all Municipal Governments.

SECOND – Service Tax Rate shall be shall be recalculated once every five (5) years, based on the rate of increase in the Cost of Living Index, as verse a periodic reassessment appraisal – which is not practical for special purpose buildings (like a Correctional Center).

THIRD - Each Municipal Unit shall be required to identify each State Government Services Unit, County Government Services Unit, and Not-For-Profit Organizations (hereafter Service Units) and determine a value for each property within its border. Service Property values shall be based upon the most recent contract sales price of the property, as recorded in the deed which resulted from the purchase agreement, or the value of the Bond Issue or Capital Expense Appropriation which was used to fund the property’s original construction. Such valuations shall not be subject to any periodic reassessment, because of the single, unique functionally of the buildings in question, except that any modifications which shall be significant to require building code inspection or zoning variance shall be treated as adjustments to the value of said property. All newly constructed buildings or acquired properties shall be registered with the appropriate taxing unit having jurisdiction or such parcel, on an on going basis.

FOURTH - A property valuation calculation shall be required to be prepared by each Municipal Unit and distributed to each Service Property within 90 days of the enactment of the authorizing legislation. In order to mitigate the impact of this new process, the initial assessment shall be phased in proportionally at the rate of 20% / year over a period of five (5) years from the date of enactment.

FIFTH - County Governments shall be empowered to grant a “Request for Reimbursement of Service Tax Assessment” from any NPO within their border which has been assessed, and thus: (a) reduce the cost of operation of the Service Unit and (b) spread this cost (transfer) across the tax population (service community) of the entire county through the County Tax Assessment.

POSTSCRIPT: Naturally some organizations would continue to be “Exempt”, such as Federal Government operations (U.S. Constitutional prohibitions), Churches (under the doctrine of Separation of Church and State) and Public Schools (because they are already part of the Municipal School Board*).