Chat Transcript: Former Senator David Pryor (Nov. 15, 2000)

Well, you know, I think it's incumbent upon all of us to know as much as we can. There were thousands of times in the past when African - Americans and other minorities were denied the opportunity to vote because they were given tests about the Constitution or about what particular laws said, or meant, at the polling place. These were questions that the voters couldn't necessarily answer, and asking questions like that discouraged them from trying to cast their votes.

I think if we start having a test about candidates or the system before a person could vote, I think there would be a national uproar. I don't think you'll ever see that happen. We have to remember what Churchill said, "Democracy is the worst of all systems of government, except for all the rest." And I think in our government you take the bad with the good, put 'em all together, and you come out with a good system. But sometimes, it's true, we just don't know as much as we should when we go into the voting booth.

Cheryl Conklin from ca.us.prserv.net at 3:29pm ET

Since the Constitution upholds the electoral vote process, and we have always known that a candidate could lose even though they had the most popular votes. Why should this be an issue just because the election is a close one? If we don't like the Electoral College, we should change it for the future, not cry about the process.

David Pryor at 3:31pm ET

Well, I think that's at issue right now. I think we have to change it for the future. We could have this same situation again four years from now. Some of these Congressional races were decided by razor thin margins, as the Presidency will be soon. The person who wins the Presidency may not have the popular vote, but have the electoral.

I think because of what's happened in the aftermath of this election, it will jar people, force people to rethink this, I think it will bring a change of our system. I believe over 60% of the people would say we need to do away with the Electoral College.

Ginny Perrine from adam.com at 3:32pm ET

What is the likelihood of the Electoral College members voting against the Electoral College results and casting their ballots with the popular vote?

David Pryor at 3:34pm ET

It could happen. You know, you also need to consider a scenario like this; if this election would go into the House, you'd have to use the new Congress that will be sworn in in January. Now, let's take the Fourth Congressional district of Arkansas, my home state, for example.

A Republican, Jay Dickey, who'd been there eight years, was defeated by a Democrat named Mike Ross. Does Mike Ross, if this election is thrown into the house, vote for Albert Gore? Does he vote for George Bush because George Bush carried Arkansas? Or does he vote for Al Gore because Al Gore carried the Fourth Congressional district?

Do you vote your district, your state, the national totals, your political party? These are questions in the House that will have to be answered.

Frederick M. Mitchell from ca.us.prserv.net at 3:36pm ET

Don't you think the losing candidate should concede by this Sunday when all the absentee votes are in and any further efforts for the Gore campaign and Democrats to continue to extend the vote counting be stopped? America is sick and tired of these tactics.

David Pryor at 3:37pm ET

Well, I think Frederick should put himself in the place of one of the voters in Florida whose vote was not counted. And if the number was seven thousand, or ten thousand, or two thousand, I think if I were a voter and had voted a certain way, and my vote had been thrown out, I think I would be very, very perturbed that a court had pre-empted my rights as a citizen to participate.

I think people want a fair count after that, then, hopefully, one side will congratulate the other and concede.

Moderator at 3:38pm ET

Thank you David Pryor. And thanks to all our chat participants!

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