The Electoral College is an outdated historical compromise


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Carly Quint

One may assume that American citizens directly vote for the president, since America is a country that is known for its democracy and freedoms. The truth is that American voters cast their vote for electors to cast the official votes, a system that no longer works for today’s America.

Each state gets a certain number of electors. This number is comprised of the state’s number of congressmembers — those in the House of Representatives and those in the Senate. For a presidential candidate to win, they need a majority of 270 electoral votes.

The majority of the states go by the winner-takes-all position. This means that the candidate who gets the popular vote in the state usually gets all of the electors in that state.

However, Maine and Nebraska use the congressional district method, meaning that two electoral votes go to the popular vote of the state and one goes to the popular vote of each Congressional district.

The electoral college was a historic compromise.

In 1787, no other country allowed its citizens to directly vote for their leader, which made this democratic idea unheard of.

Although Americans at this time did not want the government to have too much power, they did not fully trust the American population to be informed enough to cast a direct vote, influencing the Constitution’s framers to include the Electoral College.

Also, African American slaves comprised a large amount of the South’s population. This led to the Three-Fifths Compromise, which gave Southern states more electoral votes for people that were unable to vote, such as slaves. This was almost 250 years ago, which makes it out of date. Today, no one is viewed as only a part of a person.

Americans are more informed about politics nowadays, whether it be by watching debates on the television or reading articles online. Also, Americans are more educated now, which can be seen as they are increasingly completing high school and pursuing college degrees.

Thus, the argument that the Electoral College prevents the uneducated masses from making political decisions on behalf of the country is no longer valid.

Another reason why the Electoral College is outdated is because women and African Americans were granted the right to vote long after it was created, with the 19th and 14th Amendments, respectively.

Do the United States really want to follow a system built off of ideals that are no longer dominating American society?

There have been five instances where the candidate that won the popular vote did not win the presidency due to lacking electoral votes, the most recent being the 2016 presidential election. If the candidate that won the popular vote was elected, the vote would better reflect what the American people want.

Many people decide not to vote because they feel that their vote does not matter. Every vote matters to determine state votes, but one’s vote is discarded if their candidate does not win the state.

Another reason that the Electoral College should not be used is the possibility of faithless electors. Electors can go against their state and vote for a candidate that did not win the popular vote.

The electors cannot be fully trusted because they can place their personal opinions above the wants of the people of their state.

Only 29 states and the District of Columbia can force their electors to make an oath to vote for the candidate that they promise and punish their electors with fines.

In the 2016 presidential election, seven electors went against their state vote and cast their vote for a different presidential candidate.

Arguments include having a moral duty to the people to select who they deem best, but this disregards the wants of the people and diminishes trust in the government.