Why We Should Abolish the Archaic Electoral College
The Founding Fathers of the United States are credited with amazing foresight in the design of the current American political system: they designed the fundamentals of a government that could withstand over 200 years of evolution. Throughout this history, small changes have been made to government institutions and practices, yet once again, the United States has reached a pivotal point of change. The Electoral College was originally designed by the Founding Fathers without foresight of there ever being political parties. It was designed to protect the people from themselves. Unfortunately the Electoral College, instead of allowing for smoother elections, now creates controversy. The United States should abolish the Electoral College in favor of a true democratic vote for presidency where every American’s vote counts.Historically, the Electoral College was a compromise to solve the issues generated by creating a Federation of states. It was designed to encourage the equality of all the states by giving smaller states more electoral representatives, proportionally, than larger states. The population of the state designates the number of electors, with an additional two representatives. There are currently 538 electors. A presidential candidate needs a majority to win the election, the vote of 270 electors. If neither candidate receives a majority of the votes, the presidency is decided by 0.0000018% of the current population of the US (the members of both houses of Congress). If the election were decided completely by popular vote, a tie would still be possible, but far more unlikely, because the presidential candidate would need millions of votes to gain a majority in the election. The true democratic, or popular vote, system encourages more parties to partake in presidential elections and it increases the likelihood of their success. More Americans will partake in an election when every vote is physically counted. Minorities will also have a stronger presence in elections because they will no longer be shadowed by the majority vote in each state. The popular vote could create a multi-party political atmosphere and encourage more Americans to embrace their right to vote. When the United States was founded, the Electoral College was necessary. At that time, it would have been almost impossible to use the popular vote to choose the President. Because it took weeks to travel across the country, it was impractical to organize the election, collect the votes and securely transport them back to the capital to be counted. The framers of the Constitution felt that the massive task of a popular election was reckless for a fledgling nation. Originally, the Electoral College was the only feasible way for a nation with the size of almost six million square miles to elect government officials democratically. The Electoral College was useful before technology allowed for data to be instantly transferred across the country. The system allowed for votes to be calculated in small amounts and then the electorate cast the final votes. The Electors were well educated and appointed by the states they represented in hopes that they would understand the issues facing the nation and the consequences, better than the average American. Now, the Electoral College is no longer needed as a network to vote for the people over a vast nation or to protect the uneducated from corruption. The mass media has made the average American more informed about the issues and capable of deciphering them. The network for voting already exists; the Internet is used by millions of people everyday and is constantly upgraded for security and privacy. The popular vote, or true democratic vote, could be implemented using the Internet and secure connections used in online shopping or use a similar system voting system as used today. In the current age of instant communication and information, the Electoral College is no longer necessary. Technology might be a catalyst for the change, but the Electoral College system has flaws that potentially disenfranchise millions of Americans. The Electoral College uses population to distribute Electors to the states; for every approximately 600,000 people, a state receives one elector. This system gives undue representation to smaller states like Wyoming, where the population falls bellow the 600,000 mark; the state gets the minimum 3 electors, which is more electors than its population dictates it should receive. If California, with a population of about 35 million, were to receive the amount of Electors it deserves based on population it would have 61 Electors instead of the current 55. Citizens in smaller states, who have three electors, have less competition against their vote and their vote counts four times more than the vote of a Californian. If the system were to change and every citizen were given one vote to directly elect the president, then the disproportionate value would not occur and everyone would have an equal say in the future of the nation. With the popular vote system in place, Presidential candidates would have to visit more states in order to secure an election. States that traditionally go to one party or the other would be divisible into thousands of votes and the state’s majority would not overwhelm pockets of liberals or conservatives who currently have little say in elections. Also, many states, like Florida or Oregon, are considered swing states because they can vote for either candidate. In the Electoral College system, all of the State’s electoral votes go to the majority candidate, but in a popular vote, all the votes for either candidate would count. The Electoral College system no longer meets the needs for which it was originally designed: the successful election of a presidential candidate. It should be replaced by a truly democratic popular vote. Historically, the electorate was necessary to convey the choice of the nation, due to the size and population of the country. Now, the Electoral College no longer serves its purpose: it takes votes away from Americans in more populous areas, encourages the reign of only two political parties, and facilitates the majority party’s power over minority parties. The popular vote makes every American’s vote equal; citizens in small states have the same vote as citizens in large states, effectively accomplishing what the founders wanted by making all the states equal. Because the majority would no longer shadow minority votes (as they are currently in the winner take all electoral vote system used in most states), the popular vote would encourage presidential candidates to visit all the states, not just the states that could go to either candidate. The technology for accurate democratic vote is available; it is already used in secure computer transactions on personal computer and ATMs. The reasoning behind the Electoral College is no longer applicable to this advancing nation; it should be replaced by the truly democratic popular vote.
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