Electoral College The system that has been successfully electing our presidents since the 18th centu

March 20, 2010
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You live in a small town in Vermont. It’s the second Tuesday in November and the current president has already served his four year term. You know what today is: Election Day. So as usual, you go to your local library or school to vote. You walk into the voting machine you put in your vote. Then outside, someone gives you a sticker that says “I Voted.” That night you have the satisfaction of knowing you made a difference in deciding the president. This is because the Electoral College gives power to smaller states with a smaller population, such as Vermont. If the popular vote decided our president, then because Vermont has such a small population, your vote would be meaningless and no candidate would care about it. Since the Electoral College makes everyones vote meaningful, I believe the Electoral College should remain our system in electing government officials.

Most Americans think the Electoral College is a very complicated process. But I inform you: it’s not. The Electoral College was created at the Second Continental Congress by our founding fathers. Each state gets a number of Electoral votes. This number is calculated by adding the number of senators the state has (two for every state) and the number of members in the house of representatives the state has (determined by population). Or more simply, the number of seats each state has in Congress. On the second Tuesday in November, people all over the world vote for their favorite candidate and electors to support their favorite candidate. Most electors pledge their votes to a certain candidate, guaranteeing citizens they will vote for the candidate with the most votes. More than a month after all the people vote, the meeting with the electors and congress takes place. Besides Nebraska and Maine, all other states have adopted the unit rule. The unit rule means that the state’s Electoral votes cannot be divided by candidates. That person who receives the most votes in the state receives all of the state’s electoral votes. However since Maine and Nebraska never agreed to use the unit rule, their electoral votes can be divided among the candidates. To win the presidential election, the president and vice president, must win a certain amount of electoral votes. Today the number of electoral votes needed to win is 270.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
As stated in the Pledge of Allegiance, our government is a republic. Many people make the mistake that our system of government is a democracy. A democracy is a political government that is carried out directly by the people. We are a representative democracy (also called a republic). In a representative democracy the government is run by representatives who the people elect. Since the Electoral College involves electing people to choose the President and Vice President, it is consistent with the representative democracy form of government. Changing our voting system to a popular vote is not consistent with the principles of representative democracy, but rather is closer to a pure democracy.
If our voting system were changed to a direct democracy, would we have to change other parts of our government as well, such as the Senate in which each state receives equal representation? Ancient Greece once had a pure democracy. They had ordinary people like you and me trying to made decisions and govern themselves. Well, how do you think that turned out? Now Ancient Greece lives in ruins. Do you want the United States to live in ruins because we changed our voting system to a popular vote, which is a direct democracy? No we don’t! We should keep our voting system as the Electoral College, a republic, and not change it into a popular voting system, a pure democracy, so the United States of America can live on and strive.

Because the colonies were of all different sizes, our founding fathers had the foresight to enact a system of government in which the less-populated states would have an important voice in the government. The Electoral College prevents elections from being decided by the states with the largest populations, which would disenfranchise the less-populated states. For example, if you add up all the electoral votes of the smaller states, (those whose electoral votes are under 10), the sum outnumbers the combined number of electoral votes of California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Ohio. However, California alone has a larger population than all of the smaller states combined.
The Electoral College plays an important role in where the candidates campaign. With the Electoral College, a candidate must campaign in both the large and smaller states in order to have a chance to win the election. Many elections are decided by the electoral votes of the less populated states. If elections were based on the popular vote, candidates would only campaign in California and New York, and bypass the smaller states. The Electoral College results in all states playing an active role in deciding our leaders . In the 2000 election between Bush and Gore, the small states played a big role in deciding the winner. Although Gore managed to win California, New York, and Pennsylvania, Bush won the election by winning most of the less populated states. But because Gore won California and New York, he managed to win the popular vote.In sum, the Electoral College prevents citizens living in the most populated areas from always determining who will be the president.

Many people who want to get rid of the Electoral College argue that without the Electoral College, the Bush vs. Gore election would have had a different and possibly better outcome. In that election, most of the battle was centered in Florida. Later on, it became evident that the winner of the Sunshine State wins the election of 2000. Think about this for a second. If the government changed the election policy, to let the popular vote elect the president, would that have prevented the chaos of the 2000 election? Of course it would not have. Without the Electoral College, Bush and Gore would have both realized that either of them could demand recounts and challenge the ballots around the country, with hopes of finding enough votes that would lead them to victory. This would lead to lots of lawyers suing the counters of the votes around the country charging them with errors in the counting. With all the lawsuits and recounts of every vote across America, we wouldn’t have had a new president for months. The Electoral College actually resulted in the 2000 election being decided quicker than it would have if the election was based on the popular vote.

In sum, many people argue that eliminating the Electoral College and electing presidents by popular vote is a fairer and more democratic system. Those people, however, typically live in states such as New York and California that would benefit the most by eliminating the Electoral College. The Electoral College is more consistent with a democracy because it ensures that candidates will campaign in every state, and all citizens, even those in rural areas, have a say in electing our national leader. In a country with both heavily populated states and very rural states, the Electoral College is a fair compromise that allows all citizens the opportunity to have a meaningful vote for the president.

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mvymvy said...
Apr. 22, 2010 at 1:22 pm

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).


Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.


The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the ... (more »)

mvymvy said...
Apr. 22, 2010 at 1:21 pm

The U.S. Constitution, existing federal statutes, and independent state statutes guarantee "finality" in presidential elections long before the inauguration day in January. 


The U.S. Constitution (Article II, section 1, clause 4) provides:

"The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States."[Spelling as per original]


The co... (more »)

mvymvy said...
Apr. 22, 2010 at 1:20 pm

A nationwide recount would not happen. We do and would vote state by state.  Each state manages its own election. The state-by-state winner-take-all system is not a firewall, but instead causes unnecessary fires. 


Under the current winner-take-all system, there are 51 separate opportunities for recounts in every presidential election. Thus, our nation's 56 presidential elections have really been 2,084 separate state-level elections. There have been five seriousl... (more »)

mvymvy said...
Apr. 22, 2010 at 1:18 pm

The 11 most populous states contain 56% of the population of the United States and a candidate would win the Presidency if 100% of the voters in these 11 states voted for one candidate.  However, if anyone is concerned about the this theoretical possibility, it should be pointed out that, under the current system, a candidate could win the Presidency by winning a mere 51% of the vote in these same 11 states -- that is, a mere 26% of the nation's votes. 


The poli... (more »)

mvymvy said...
Apr. 22, 2010 at 1:17 pm

The small states are the most disadvantaged group of states under the current system of electing the President. Political clout comes from being a closely divided battleground state, not the two-vote bonus.


12 of the 13 smallest states (3-4 electoral votes) are almost invariably non-competitive, and ignored, in presidential elections.  Six regularly vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota),, and six regularly vote Democratic (... (more »)

mvymvy said...
Apr. 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm
A "republican" form of government means that the voters do not make laws themselves but, instead, delegate the job to periodically elected officials (Congressmen, Senators, and the President). The United States has a "republican" form of government regardless of whether popular votes for presidential electors are tallied at the state-level (as is currently the case in 48 states) or at district-level (as is currently the case in Maine and Nebraska) or at 50-state-level (as under the National Popu... (more »)
mvymvy said...
Apr. 22, 2010 at 1:15 pm
The current system of electing the president ensures that the candidates do not reach out to all of the states. Presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided "battleground" states. In 2008, candidates concentrated over two-thirds of their campaign events and ad money in just six states, and 98% in just 15 states (CO, FL, IN, IA, MI, MN, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, OH, PA, VA, and WI). Vermont is not among them, and is ignored like all the other smallest states exc... (more »)
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