emocracy means “one
person, one vote,” but
not in the US.
Let’s turn back the
clock to 2000. Five
men − four white and
one black, who always followed
one of the whites − selected,
chose or cherry-picked the presi-
dent. It was shameful. If these
judges with jurisdiction to serve
until death had possessed even a
semblance of integrity and hon-
esty, they would have recom-
mended re-election or recount-
ing votes in all states or at least
in the state of Florida. Instead,
they showed pride and pleasure
in being the king makers.
The Electoral College is an
outdated, ancient system. Even
in South Africa, to its credit, the
process has changed. There,
“one person, one vote” is the
policy now. America’s founding
fathers created the “college”
when slavery was legal. They
were probably correct in their
political judgement during the
formation of the country.
Probably they also considered
the need to suppress “slave
votes” in the future, if voting
rights were awarded to women
Even today, many elected
officials in many states and even
the Supreme Court continue to
trample on voting rights. But the
times are different as the coun-
try has matured and the popula-
tion has increased. Two hundred
years later, with the present vast
population, the Electoral College
is obsolete and should be abol-
ished so that there is equal rep-
resentation for each state in the
country, based on population. In
any democracy in the world, a
“majority” rules. The Electoral
College could still exist as a tra-
dition. However, to maintain the
fundamental tenet of democra-
cy, Electoral College votes in
each state must be rewarded in
proportion to the votes received
by each candidate.
Moreover, two senators for
each state is absolutely an
unequal representation. For
example, in a state like
Wyoming or Idaho or Dakotas,
each senator represents a popu-
lation of about 250,000 to
500,000. In contrast, in states
like California, New York, Texas,
each senator represents more
than 5 million people. A state
with a very tiny population has
the same clout as one with mul-
tiple millions. What a travesty!
It is also disgusting that
Congress needs to vote again on
the Voting Rights Act needs
every few years and that the
king-makers in the Supreme
Court have a say in how it’s
interpreted. The right to vote is
unequivocal, fundamental and
inherent for each citizen and
must not require revoting.
Finally, some citizens have no
say at all in this “democracy.”
Representatives from D.C. have
no voting powers in Congress.
They are mere observers.
Similarly, some territories, such
as Puerto Rico and Guam, have
representations in the primaries
but have no voting rights in the
What a democracy! Udaya M Kabadi
The United States, a Democracy?
A Flawed Electoral
Attempts to reverse the outcome of Trump’s election are
Gone are the vote recounts,
attempts to switch electors to
Hillary, to release the unverified
Trump dossier, and the jabs
Meryl Streep made at him during
the Golden Globe Awards. Now
comes the time for breast-beating.
Protests are planned at
Trump’s inauguration. Some liberal lawmakers refuse to attend
Trump’s inauguration citing the
illegitimacy of Trump’s victory.
They believe that the popular
vote should be the basis for winning because Hillary won the
popular vote. It is strange that
they are oblivious of the fact that
the Constitution currently mandates the Electoral College is the
basis for deciding the winner.
This being the case, any amount
of breast-beating to reverse the
election result is a futile exercise. What will be meaningful is
an examination of the two voting systems in terms of accuracy.
In the Electoral College, each
state is apportioned a certain
number of electors and this
number is the sum total of senators and representatives from
The state’s political party
selects the persons to act as electors and these electors if elected
are morally bound to vote for
their candidate. This sounds
good but in rare cases the electors may refuse to vote for their
party’s candidate under the
advisement of erudite pundits.
This, I believe, is a serious drawback.
Irrespective of size and popu-
lation, every state is entitled to
two senators. For instance,
Hawaii and New York each gets
two senators. Evidently, this is
disproportionate and contributes
greatly to inequity. Unlike the
senators, the representatives are
apportioned by the population in
their state. But “people per rep-
resentative” differs from state to
For example, the rate is
994,416 people per representative in Montana while in Rhode
Island it is 527,624 people per
representative. The above are
the inherent drawbacks that
make the Electoral College
imprecise. The Electoral College,
therefore, is a crude poll that
lacks accuracy and precision.
On the other hand, the popular vote accounts for every vote
and is, therefore, precise.
However, this very nature of the
system makes it prohibitively
expensive. It forces each candi-
date to campaign heavily in
every state because every vote
matters. If fairness is the corner-
stone of our democracy, a popu-
lar vote certainly is a better sys-
tem. It can be made the prevail-
ing system through an amend-
ment that requires a two-thirds
majority. This requirement has
been a major hurdle in the past
and I am afraid it will remain so
Having said this, until
Congress passes an amendment,
the Donkeys and Elephants will
keep fighting with each other,
constantly hurling abuse and
charges of fraud and tampering
at each other. Gopal Alankar
Non-resident Indians (NRIs)
visiting India are having a tough
time exchanging old money,
thanks to the demonetization
program in effect there.
I arrived Jan. 1 at Ahmedabad.
Even regular custom forms were
not given to us in spite of us asking for them.
Then, Jan. 2, the Reserve Bank
of India released new rules for
NRIs which called for them to fill
and sign a form at the customs
office providing details of the old
notes being carried. People coming in last week were told there
was no need to fill the form as
long as the sum was under Rs.
But now we have to travel the
300-plus miles to the RBI office
in Mumbai to exchange them.
The cost of travelling, staying in
hotels, and booking taxis makes
the effort involved meaningless,
especially since there is no guarantee that you will not be turned
back or, worse, turned down.
The Indian government
tricked us by being vague about
exchange rules for NRIs.
If we had known of the government’s plan earlier, many
senior citizens like us would
gone there earlier. Mona Patel
INDIA ABROAD JANUARY 27, 2017 3 LETTERS
Kelsey Hoffman fills out her
ballot as her son Marco, 5,
waits at a polling station in
Denver on Election Day,
Nov. 8, 2016.