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The Electoral College is Essential
Without it, would your vote count?
Now and then over a period of many years, someone with enough notoriety to make the news suggests that the United States of America should consider eliminating the Electoral College. This idea has been voiced again several times during the past eight years. In case anyone reading this is not familiar with the Electoral College, a brief explanation is in order. The paragraph below is the portion of our Constitution that created the Electoral College.
“Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”
As provided elsewhere in the Constitution, it is these electors who actually cast the votes for choosing the president and vice president of the United States. Each state’s popular vote is the basis for directing the vote of the electors. Our founding fathers made some impressive, exceptionally wise decisions when creating the structure and operation of the federal government. This was one of them.
Just as having two senators from each state helps to give a voice in Congress to all parts of the country, the Electoral College does the same for presidential elections. There are currently 25 states with 5 or less representatives. At the other end are California with 53; Texas, 32; New York, 29; and Florida, 25. So all of the representatives from half of the states add up to less than the number of representatives from just 4 of the most populous states. Geographically, this is a huge part of the country. And from this large portion of the country come much of the fuel, many minerals, and most of the food sources that supply the rest of the country. The only way for these states to have a significant voice in Congress is by having the Senate divided equally among all states.
Likewise, in the presidential elections, if the winner were to be chosen on the basis of a simple majority of the population of the nation, all of these states and more would simply have no voice in the outcome. In fact, a president could be elected based on just the votes of a dozen or less metropolitan areas. Such a thought should be very frightening to the citizens of most of our great nation. Without the Electoral College, San Francisco, southern California, a few areas in Texas, and a few chunks of the eastern seaboard states could determine every election. The Electoral College, giving each state at least 3 votes, doesn’t completely put things in balance, but it helps.
Those who advocate elimination of the Electoral College are either ignorant of its importance or believe they can gain personal power by giving control of presidential elections over to these small but heavily populated areas. It is interesting to note that these areas have a concentration of elements that strongly tend to vote for Democratic Party candidates, no matter how liberal or out of step with traditional American values.