Arbitrary system defeats United States democracy

Critical Review of the Electoral College

Clinton won the popular vote in 2016, but Trump won the electoral vote earning him the presidency.

By: Abigail Calandra| Writer

October 10, 2018

A democracy is a government run by the people, but does the electoral college give the United States this democracy we are known for?

Some say the electoral college was created due to the general public’s lack of knowledge, however, the sole reason it was originally created was to provide smaller states more leverage in order to keep slavery. Fast forward 150 years, the electoral college now prevents us from having to count all the votes from the whole nation. 

It needs to be abolished because the distribution of votes per state is not equally dispersed. One can be elected with only a small percentage of the popular vote, and faithless electors vote against the will of the people.

The Huffington Post published an article after the most recent presidential election discussing the inequality of votes and how the result of the election would have been different without the electoral college. The government originally created the electoral college “to make the states feel important in a federalist government” because if votes were determined by a states’ “population, smaller rural states would be… irrelevant” so the electoral college granted each state with a minimum of three votes (Huffington Post).

The population of California is around 37,254,503 while the population in Wyoming is around 563,767; Wyoming receives 3 votes and California receives 55 votes. One electoral vote in Wyoming counts for 187,923 people while one electoral vote in California counts for 677,355 people; that means a vote in Wyoming counts for 3.6 times as much influence.

The United States government gives the people right to influence who the electoral college elects as president. But we are not capable of influencing the electoral college to elect whom we believe to be the proper candidate to represent one of the most powerful nations in the world if there is not equal distribution of votes. If the American public had the right to choose, one vote equal to another, our current situation, the current presidency, would be completely different. 

Electoral votes from the 2016 election

The purpose of the popular vote is to instruct the electoral college to vote in favor of the president the people want, however, electors do not have to necessarily vote the same as the rest of the state. The electoral college is an old, broken system; its abolition could allow the public to elect the president without interference.

However if the majority of people do not take the time to be educated, senior Bryce Hall said, “We still need [the electoral college] to maintain our lives as we know them, but some methods must change because a methodology from the 1700’s… should not govern a 21st century society.” Yet, less than half of the states do not take action over faithless electors giving people the opportunity to continue going against the will of the people.

Without prosecution, the American public feels unheard and like their votes don’t count. “Nowadays, the popular vote should decide who becomes the president,” junior Zoe Mortensen said. “I feel that the electoral college is an outdated system that was used when not everyone could vote.” One person should not have the power to override the votes of thousands, to even millions, of American citizens. To some it may seem scary that the uninformed nation is responsible of choosing the president, but this supposed to be a democracy. After all, the Preamble begins with “We the people”…

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