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Why does the United States have an Electoral College?

  1. Michele Travis profile image71
    Michele Travisposted 5 years ago

    Why does the United States have an Electoral College?

    Every 4 years, Americans vote for a president. After the people's votes are counted, one candidate is the winner in each state. Then that candidate wins all the state's 'electors'. The electors from each of the 50 states are counted up like points. Whoever wins 270 electors becomes President.   So, even if someone who is running for President, gets more votes in the entire U.S.A. the other person running for President can win.  This is wrong.  It should be one person, one vote.

  2. LandmarkWealth profile image80
    LandmarkWealthposted 5 years ago

    The reason is we were founded as a democratically elected republic not a democracy.  If we used a pure democracy then the population centers like NY & LA would contol the country and the interest of smaller states would get no representation.  And generally speaking different regions of the country have often vastly different concerns & needs.   And in some cases values. In a pure democracy, it is simply far easier for the majority to impose tyranny on the minority.  Imagine living in Rhode Island and paying Federal income taxes.  But the elected officials simply would not need your vote.  So all of your tax revenue would be redirected back to NY, LA, & Chicago.  Our system is flawed, but it's still way better than a pure democracy.
    Personally, I would like to see electoral votes allocated at a county level rather than a state level.  If you live in a conservative county in  NY, national elected officials are not interested in your concerns. They already have the state wrapped up.   Likewise if you live in a liberal county in Texas.

  3. profile image0
    Larry Wallposted 5 years ago

    My views over the electoral college have changed back and forth over the years. I think I am at the final answer, that while one man-one vote would be ideal, it is nor practical. The reasons stated by LandmarkWeath are very good. New York and California would control the elections. The rest of us would never see the candidates.
    In most elections, the person getting the highest popular vote has been chosen by the electoral college. We had that fiasco with the Bush-Gore elections and there were earlier elections.
    One problem is that each state has their own voting laws, different hours for voting, different times to vote absentee, different ballots (electronic vs. paper with hanging chads) and a lot of other differences. I use to cover vote tallies for elections when I was a reporter. Many of the poll commissioners were elderly and had trouble reading the totals off the back of the machines. We have newer machines in LA now, but some states are still using paper ballots or punch ballots.

    I guess the simple answer is that the electoral college is a check against the popular vote. If we depended on the popular vote, if there was ever a protest in an election, it would take a recount of all the votes in all the states and we would still wind up in court.

    While neither one of us may like the system, I believe it is the best we can do.

    1. LandmarkWealth profile image80
      LandmarkWealthposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Agreed, I just still think it should be electoral votes allocated at the county level.  To me that is a slightly better representation of a democracy with a check on the power of the majority.

    2. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      In LA we have 64 parishes (counties) and the population varies greatly. You would end up with a huge number of delegates and would increase the cost considerably. Delegates for states are determined by population and elected by the people.

    3. LandmarkWealth profile image80
      LandmarkWealthposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I am sure there could be away to streamline that cost eventually.  I am thinking each state keeps the same total of current votes.  But then allocates them per county so winning a state doesn't grant you all the votes.

    4. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I don't see any gain. The law states, "Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Sens. and Reps. ...." The number is set. States chose the method.

    5. LandmarkWealth profile image80
      LandmarkWealthposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      i guess the gain is if you're in a conservative county in NY, why bother even particpating in national elections.  And the same is true for a liberal county in Texas. The dominant party isnt concerned about your needs as the minority in the state.

    6. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      It happens in almost every state where there is a large population area and a less densely populated area in another.  If we did as you suggested there is a greater chance that the candidate with the highest popular vote might lose the popular vote.

    7. LandmarkWealth profile image80
      LandmarkWealthposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      The national popular vote wouldn't change, just allocate electoral votes partially across the  state based on population of counties.For example you might win 27out of the31 electoral votes in NY. That would make the smaller county partially relevant

    8. profile image0
      Larry Wallposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      It has been a good discussion. But the fed allocate votes. Getting all the states to agree would be hard since the fed could not force them.

    9. LandmarkWealth profile image80
      LandmarkWealthposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      That's where I think the states should have the descretion on how to allocate their awarded votes on a county basis.  i wouldn't want the fed to have that power.  Give the state a # and let them divide it up accordingly.  Probably never happen.

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