The Electoral College: outdated and irrelevant?

 

BIDEN IN THE LEAD: Past map shows Biden’s lead in the Electoral college. Biden was projected the winner of the 2020 election on November 3. Map courtesy of the Associated Post

Mia Costales | News Editor 

November 12, 2020

The 2020 election is over. The votes have been counted, and Joe Biden was declared the winner on November 7. Due to the electoral college, however, individual votes have much less influence on who actually becomes president. The electoral college is based on how many people are represented in Congress per state; each state has a number of representatives in the house based on their population and two senators. In most states, the candidate who gets the most votes gets all of its electoral votes, and the candidate who gets 270 electoral votes or more nation wide wins the election.

Many voters believe that this system is highly outdated.

“I think the electoral college is an outdated system and should be abolished. While it may have been beneficial when created, it no longer accurately reflects what the people want,” senior Anabelle Sanders said. “The overall votes obtained doesn’t matter, and the outcome of the Electoral College isn’t always the popular vote. Personally, I believe that in order to call our government a democracy, the popular vote should always win.”

The fact of the matter is that the electoral college was created by the founding fathers on the basis of the three-fifths compromise, which declared that enslaved Black people were now considered only three-fifths of a person, boosting the ‘pro-slavery’ Southern states’ populations. This was over 200 years ago.  Like most things in America, our voting system is written with slavery in mind. The three-fifths compromise was created to protect the influence of white slave owners. The premise of a popular-vote winning election worried delegates in slaveholding states because, while they had a greater populations due to the amount of enslaved Black people in their area, those enslaved people were not granted voting rights; therefore, the slaveholding states feared being outnumbered by ‘anti-slavery’ Northern states in elections.

 

SOME VOTERS wish to abolish the Electoral college, as they think it does not accurately represent what the people want. Cartoon courtesy of Newsday

So why does the U.S. still uphold a racist and outdated voting policy after all these years? Currently, the United States is the only country in the world that picks their president using the Electoral College. Because of this system, swing states have much more influence in elections than other states do. For example, a swing state like Nevada could’ve gone either blue or red and determined whether Biden or Trump won the election this year, while a historically blue state like Oregon or a historically red state like Texas didn’t have as much of an impact on the election. However, some people are still reluctant to get rid of the system that has appeared to work relatively well all of these years.

“In the idea of following a democracy, the electoral college doesn’t seem to work, but because we work as a republic I think it is the best solution for representing our nation,” senior Oliviana Kane said. “However, I think all states should follow the ideas of Maine in split ticket voting rather than all electoral votes going to one party for each state, especially in close elections like 2020.”

Many voters have been pushing to abolish the Electoral College, as they feel it does not accurately represent what the American people want. While many smaller Southern states benefit from the voting system, other larger blue states may feel that their votes don’t matter as much as people make them out to. However, completely abolishing the Electoral College could also further the bipartisan divide, as the popular vote is most always in favor of Democrats. As long as the Electoral College is in effect, there will always be a possibility that the winning candidate will not represent America’s majority choice. However, with the civil unrest and controversial presidency of Donald Trump that our country has witnessed this year, it seems that we may be inching closer to implementing a more fair election process. 

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