TheElectoral College Should be Abolished
TheUS has a unique voting system that differs from many voting systemsaround the world. The Electoral College system allows a select panelof unnamed electors numbering 538 to overturn a popular presidentialvote is it votes on the contrary through electoral votes. Each stateelects electors to the college who then cast electoral votes onbehalf of the state. Each state is entitled to a number of electorsto the number of members of congress in that state. The District ofColumbia is also entitled to three electors. In total, there are 538electors which correspond to 435 members of the House ofRepresentatives, 100 senators, and three extra electors from theDistrict of Columbia (What is Electoral College? 2012). The majorityvote of 270 in the Electoral College determines the president therebydeeming the popular vote of presidents by the public pointless.Nonetheless, to give Americans their full democratic rights ofelecting their leaders, more so, the president, the Electoral Collegeshould be abolished.
Thisis because the Electoral College perpetuates a lie in the name of thepresidential vote and fairness of the electoral process. Americansthrong polling stations on polling day and even participate incampaign meetings and fundraising but do not get to make the finaldecision through their vote. The supposed voting for a presidentialcandidate amounts to nothing but a lie. This is because, in voting“You help choose your state’s electors when you vote forPresident because when you vote for your candidate you are actuallyvoting for your candidate’s electors” (US Electoral College 2012)but not the actual presidential candidate. The individual votes fromeach citizen do very little towards directly determining who will bepresident of the country.
Thenit is right to say that the Electoral College system robs Americanstheir space to exercise their democratic right. It is important forany democracy to thrive to ensure that all voices are heard and thatevery vote counts. This gives the people the motivation to activelyparticipate in elections knowing very well that their individual votewill count. The Electoral College has overturned popular votes fourtimes in its history. This has created an impression in the countrythat a losing candidate was imposed on the people by the system. Insuch situations, it is hard to rally people around a presidency thatis presumed to be wrongly in office according to popular opinion.
Takethe case of the most recent election of 2000 pitting the RepublicanCandidate George W. Bush and Democrat George Al Gore. Despite Al Gorewinning the popular vote, Bush ended up winning the presidency asdeclared by the Electoral College. This begs the question what is thepurpose of the popular vote if it does not count? Following theelection of George Bush, political support his era was not the bestgiven that many Americans felt that the wrong man was in office.Their opinion and democratic right, best expressed and exercisedthrough voting, was inferior to the Electoral College that allowswinner takes all in some states. If the country is to adapt anindirect presidential voting system through the electoral, it is onlylogical then that the public is adequately informed about theirrelevance of a presidential vote and the presidential vote berenamed to avoid the confusion.
Thevoting system adapted by the electors in most states requires thatthey give all the electoral votes to the party that wins the majorityof state ‘presidential’ votes. Each presidential candidate orparty has a group of identified electors who have adhere to thepopular vote and vote for their party candidate. However, it ispossible that electors may chose not to elect the popular candidatesbut instead other candidates than those in their party as there areno legal obligations to do so in most states. Given that there hasnever been a case where electors have elected presidents contrary tothe popular vote of the state that they represent does not mean thatthe risk ceases to exist. It is very unfair therefore, that the votesof millions of residents of one state delegate their democratic rightso several individuals who, not legally bound to vote as instructedby the state, may choose their own candidates. The fact that“Electors today pledge to vote for the candidates from theirpolitical party, even if they do not always agree that the party’scandidates are the best qualified,” (Worldbook 2004) is a threat tofree, fair and democratic elections. The electors can be easilycomprised and interfere with outcome.
Thesystem gives too much power to swing states and others that have adifferent system in casting electors vote. While other majority ofstates award winners of a popular vote in a state all the electoralvote, the states of Maine and Nebraska do not. In these states, thestate winner receives two Electors and the winner of eachcongressional district receives one Elector. Nebraska has fiveelectoral votes while Maine has five. On the other hand, the not allstates have same number of equal votes. California has the highestnumber of electoral votes at 55 followed by Texas at 38 courtesy oftheir relatively higher population (What is Electoral College? 2012).What this means to the presidential candidates is that the winnertakes all in these states and thus they give more attention to thesestates in their campaigns. This defeats the purpose of avoiding usingdirect voting where the argument was that states with higherpopulations will be more influential in vote outcomes.
Thiscan only mean that the claim that the Electoral College process isfair and balanced is distorted. This electoral process does not leadto fair representation of the people. Given that the states areawarded the number of electors similar to the number ofrepresentative does not give fair representation to everyone. This isbecause the number of representatives in a given state is notcalculated based on the population of the state. Therefore, citizensfrom less populous states end up getting higher representation thatthose from populous states. The direct vote is the only way that theUS can ensure direct representation. Saying that “The foundingfathers established it (electoral college) in the Constitution as acompromise between election of the President by a vote in Congressand election of the President by a popular vote of qualifiedcitizens” (What is electoral college? 2012) plainly shows it wasbest suited to those circumstances then. Today America is differentand so should the electoral process change with times. The reasonsthat the founding fathers had then were not based on the modern daypopulation of various states or regions. It is unbelievable that themodern America has continued to use an electoral system over acentury old that was meant to meet the pressing political needs then.As a country founded on democracy and which stands for democracy, itis only fair that each American equates to a vote. The fact that somecitizens receive higher representation than others does no expressfairness at all.
Thereasons in opposition to Electoral College system as discussed aboveare valid. There is need to for the world’s greatest democracy togive its citizens a true taste of democracy by abolishing theElectoral College and adapting the direct voting system where eachvote counts. The system as discussed poses several problems to theelectoral process including ties in votes which not only waste timebut also create unnecessary political tensions. Therefore, it is hightime to do away with the Electoral College and allow every man toaccount for one vote to choose the president directly. This way,every presented shall be more accountable to individual citizens andnot just states as a unit or voting bloc.
ElectoralCollege. World Book Online. 2014. 10thDec 2014. Web.
TheElectoral College Exploring constitutional conflicts. n.d. 10thDec 2014. Web.
Whatis Electoral College? US Electoral College. 2012. 10thDec 2014. Web.