Don't burn the EC yet

Barack Obama has been uniformly projected to walk away with the necessary electoral votes to retain the United States Presidency. Considering that at the time of this writing, the Republican candidate holds a popular vote lead, there will likely be some calls from the Republican party's more clever factions to do away with the Electoral College.

Third-parties: please be careful with this. The Electoral College seems like a relic ripe for abolition, and it probably is. But if we abolish the Electoral College, while retaining plurality voting—the "pick one winner and many losers" approach to voting that we use—third parties will suffer.

The reason is the hugely problematic behavior that plurality voting causes: strategic voting. Presently, third party voters such as myself enjoy voting latitude in states where either the Republicans or Democrats have a unquestioned lock, such as California.

We can vote our preference without concern of making a strategic error. For example, as a Libertarian voter, I could vote for Gary Johnson and not Mitt Romney. Most Libertarians—not all, but most—put economic liberty above social justice and therefore would support Mitt Romney over Barack Obama if we were required to vote strategically. Twitter was flush with raging conservatives attempting to blame Gary Johnson voters as it is, even though the math doesn't back up such a reaction.

Removing the Electoral College without adjusting the voting system to something like score voting makes every single voter in the United States a strategic voter. Third parties will receive even fewer votes than they do today.

Score voting has many upsides for third-parties, but it should be an absolute must-have before considering tossing out the Electoral College.
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