Electoral College map with the number of electoral votes each state receives based on population. A minimum of 270 electoral votes are needed to elect the president. PUBLIC DOMAIN

As we all know, it’s that time of year again — the time to vote in your local elections. Although the Electoral College will not be playing a role in elections this year, the 538 members will be representing America’s votes next year in the 2020 presidential election. 

For many people, the purpose of the Electoral College can seem confusing or even unnecessary. At a young age, students are taught the basics in history class like the nation’s Founding Fathers and America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, but students aren’t educated enough on topics relating to the U.S. government and the process of the Electoral College. 

Because of these limitations, people think their votes don’t matter if they don’t understand how the process works. Furthermore, the Electoral College takes away votes from American citizens and distributes votes among states unequally. A big caveat is that the number of electors per state is based on population, so they are not equal. If the Electoral College were to be abolished, the popular vote would hold more weight in electing the next president.

The Electoral College is a body of electors specifically chosen to vote for the next president. Each state is given at least three electors, based on the amount of representation they have in Congress. A minimum of 270 electoral votes are needed to elect the president

The Electoral College also makes the final decision on who to vote for, although voters put in their votes. According to a survey conducted by NBC News and The Washington Post, 53% of voters agree that the Electoral College should be abolished in favor of the popular vote so that votes represent an accurate picture of who the American population wants as president. 

Instead, some states get more votes than others due to the number of electors they have, leading to a geographic disparity in the whole voting process. By weighing each state differently, the whole principle behind “one person, one vote” is essentially meaningless.

The Electoral College system was put into place by the Founding Fathers to ensure that only the elite can make choices for the nation. Thus, the system was created so that the body of electors acted on behalf of the citizens and their best interests. A lot of people believe that the Electoral College is necessary because it prevents uneducated people from voting without knowing about the candidates or their policies. Therefore, the only people that can vote are those that understand the electoral system and the laws regarding voting. However, as the U.S. has grown and developed, the need for this system has evolved over time. 

Essentially, the popular vote is undermined if the electoral vote has the final say in determining who will become president. According to HuffPost, a presidential candidate can only win the popular vote by less than 22% and still become president. The article also states, “[a] candidate can win the votes of the fewest amount of people, yet reap the greatest reward by receiving more electoral votes than the state of those people should reasonably be given.” There have been cases where presidential candidates like George W. Bush and Donald Trump did not win the popular vote, but they won the electoral vote and therefore won the presidency. 

The Electoral College should be abolished in favor of a system that more accurately counts votes in each state. Especially for larger states like California and New York, having a better system would ensure that each state has a say in who they want for president. The right to vote is a big part of this country’s foundation, and it’s important to voice your opinions for who you think the right fit is.

Although our country’s voting system is flawed, it shouldn’t discourage people from voting because that is how we can create change. Whether it’s on a large scale like during general elections or in small local elections, exercising your right to vote lets you have a say in important issues that can have a big impact on your community or even the country. 

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1 comment

  1. The principle for the Electoral College was not to allow the political elite to control elections for President and Vice-President. As you pointed out earlier in the piece, the right to vote was originally limited in scope, so the statement is more cynical than accurate.

    The purpose then, as now, was to smooth out a voting process that was heavily weighted towards those states in the Middle Atlantic and New England, where populations of eligible voters was substantially higher. The ratios were such that any potential concerns raised by less-populated states would be drowned out.

    The principle still applies. By eliminating the Electoral College because the voting results skew slightly against total popular vote numbers, we open up a somewhat related argument regarding Senate representation. And then, all hell breaks loose. Enjoy the anarchy, because this is an invitation.

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