Dear Next President,
Our election system was made to let the people have the vote. This is what our great country was built upon. However, by not abolishing the electoral college, we are not truly letting the people vote.
The electoral college was supposed to do two very important things. 1). Buffer the population and 2). Give more power to smaller states. According to History Central’s ‘Why the Electoral College’ by Marc Schulman, “Hamilton and the other founders believed that the electors would be able to insure that only a qualified person becomes President. They believed that with the Electoral College no one would be able to manipulate the citizenry. It would act as check on an electorate that might be duped. Hamilton and the other founders did not trust the population to make the right choice. The founders also believed that the Electoral College had the advantage of being a group that met only once and thus could not be manipulated over time by foreign governments or others.”
The electoral was helpful in the years before television and public broadcasting. Many people didn’t know who was really running unless the candidate came to your town or city. This way the electoral college could do what it was supposed to do. It made a rational choice on who should be president, because news could not travel as fast. But look at today. The media rules the elections by letting people see the candidate constantly and keeping up with what they stand for and will try to accomplish. The electoral college no longer needs to make the decision, because we can now make that decision.
There are many more problems with this system however. According to the Huffington Post article ‘Why We Should Abolish the Electoral College’ there are 3 key points that prove this system is obsolete.
The first is that the distribution of the electoral votes is not equal: “While this distribution method successfully stroked the ego of our smaller states, it produced many unforeseen consequences. For starters, it made the value of each citizen's vote different from that of someone living in another state.” According to fairvote.org, “For instance, each individual vote in Wyoming counts nearly four times as much in the Electoral College as each individual vote in Texas. This is because Wyoming has three (3) electoral votes for a population of 532,668 citizens (as of 2008 Census Bureau estimates) and Texas has thirty-two (32) electoral votes for a population of almost 25 million. By dividing the population by electoral votes, we can see that Wyoming has one “elector” for every 177,556 people and Texas has one “elector” for about every 715,499.”
Secondly It allows for swing and safe states. Safe states are states that almost always vote for one specific party (ex. Democrat or Republican). Swing states are states that vote either way. These states are seen as crucial to gain in order to win the election. As the Huffington Post explains, “Therefore a Republican’s vote in Maryland really doesn’t matter and a Democrat’s vote in Texas is worthless. However, if you are a resident of a swing state, say Florida for example, your vote is marginally more significant than the vote of an individual in a safe state.This is because under an Electoral College voting process, an individual vote is only as valuable as its ability to influence the majority vote of a state. Why? Because you are not casting a direct vote for President; the electors are. And in 48 states plus the district of Columbia, the citizen’s majority vote determines which candidate will receive all the electoral votes from their state.”
Lastly Electors are ‘supposed’ to vote with the vote of the people. But this does not always happen. These electors are called faithless electors. According to fairvote.org, “Since the founding of the Electoral College, there have been 157 faithless electors. 71 of these votes were changed because the original candidate died before the day on which the Electoral College cast its votes. Three of the votes were not cast at all as three electors chose to abstain from casting their electoral vote for any candidate. The other 82 electoral votes were changed on the personal initiative of the elector.” This was clearly shown in the 2000 election, when Al Gore won the popular vote but not the election. According the the Huffington Post. “Twenty-nine states have legislation that penalizes faithless electors, though no faithless elector has ever been successfully prosecuted. 21 states do not mandate that an elector must vote for his or her party’s candidate. Should the opinion of one person be able to overwrite the will of thousands (or even millions) of American voters?”
There is a solution to all these issues, simply rid of the electoral college. By electing our President solely based on who the majority of our population selects, without the inclusion of an Electoral College, the vote of every American citizen would hold equal weight and significance. Under this new system, when we vote for President we would actually be voting for President, not instructing ‘electors’ on how we want them to vote. The will of the American people would always be executed and honored, and could never be thwarted. I think if America bands together, that this system can truly be changed.