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Electoral College Essay

electoral college essay

Example #1 – Electoral College Vs. Popular Vote

When given this assignment I had no clue what topic I might choose. I waited and waited until the recent elections blew up in my face. This past election was a learning experience for me because I just turned 18. This was the first year I could ever vote and a weird election like this occurred.

I noticed how many people were actually very disturbed with how Gore won the popular vote but will most likely lose the election only because he couldn’t win enough electoral votes in one state.

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The Electoral College was designed in 1787 at the Constitutional Convention. A variety of ideas were originally brought to attention. Two significant and highly regarded options were a) Congress selects the President and b) the popular vote. Both ideas were disregarded. Having Congress elect the President would give the legislature complete control over him (6: 159-162).

The idea of the people and only the people voting for the President was eliminated because the founding fathers of the U.S. Government felt that normal people would not be able to vote for the best President in an intelligent manner.

Despite the fact that many of the original convention members thought that the popular vote would be the best option, there were still too many that opposed the idea (Glennon 7). George Mason, a former political officer in the 1800’s, states that it would be “as unnatural to refer the choice of a proper character for chief Magistrate to the people, as it would, to refer a trial of colors to a blind man” (qtd. In Glennon 7).

I became very interested in the whole system of the college and thought that I could present an argument about how it’s really outdated and could use a big change. And so the Electoral College is created. It is made up of electors from all of the states in the nation. The electors from each state are what we the people actually vote for in the November elections (“Electoral College”). Each state can have no less than 3 electors.

This is because they get an elector for every chair they fill in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Because all states have two Senate members and at least one House member, we see why. Altogether, including all of our nation’s states, we have an Electoral College consisting of 538 members. In order for a candidate to actually become the President, he must obtain at least 270 electoral votes, giving him the majority plus one (Glennon 19).

Because we use the Electoral College, it has come to occur on numerous occasions that a candidate with a higher percentage of the popular vote is defeated by his political opponent by the electoral tally (Glennon 19), thus defeating the purpose of a Democracy. A Democracy exists if we the people have “the right to self- governance.” “American ‘democracy’ has existed for over 200 years, and citizens are ready, as they have been for decades, if not centuries, to finally control their own country” (“Electoral College Problems”). Therefore the use of the Electoral College is completely useless and should be abandoned to the idea of the popular vote. If not completely thrown out, then altered by an amendment.

Under the form of the present college, it is noticeable that almost all of the third-party candidates are not even glanced at. Most people don’t even know their names or what party they come from. Many people still find no problem with the ways of college. Enthusiasts of the College point out that it has no budget what so ever, and really has no way to “defend itself.” Many also argue that if the government were as efficient we would be much better off. If the Electoral College were not established, candidates these days would most likely skip over the states that don’t have a significant number of electoral votes.

For example, the District of Columbia, which has a minimum of three votes. Andrew Spano, a Westchester County executive states that “The system forces you to campaign all over the U.S. as you try to accumulate electoral votes… It fits with the diversity of our country”(Yancey). The Federal System is supposed to have power. The people are not the Federal system, the states are the Federal system.

Anti-electoral citizens believe that they should have control over who becomes the president. They point out that under the present Electoral College mindset, every person in the United States that votes, is basically wasting their time. In an article found on the World Wide Web, it states that, in the Presidential election, “individual votes are not even tallied” (“Electoral College Problems”).

In respect to the “third” party candidates, the Electoral College gives them absolutely no chance of winning. This comes forth because even if a voter likes one of the “third” party candidates the best, he or she will not vote for them because they think it will be a wasted vote.

This is quite true because if they do vote for the candidate he will more often than not even receive one electoral vote. For example, in 1992, Ross Perot, a member of the Reform Party received this very misfortune. Despite the fact that he won 12% of the popular vote, he failed to obtain a single electoral vote (“Electoral College Problems”). This demonstrates the very “stumbling block” that the Electoral College has become. It is best summed up with another quote found on the Citizens for True Democracy web site. “The Electoral College is not worth saving” (“Electoral College Problems”).

The disadvantages of the Electoral system are obvious. On top of the above-listed problems found with the system there comes another. As stated before, many people won’t even vote for their favorite candidate sometimes if he/ she may be in a “third” party. Many times, these parties fail to materialize in states that, more often than not, are controlled by one specific party. Whether a state has three votes or thirty-three votes, its electoral voters are only supposed to vote for the candidate they have been pledged to (6: 159 -162).

This means, in the 2000 election for example, that if an electoral voter from Florida wants Gore to win he has to vote for Bush anyway. He has made a promise that he will vote for Bush and only Bush. Despite this promise, many of the voters still may vote for the person they feel will fit the position best. It doesn’t happen too often (“Electoral College”). But if it does you cannot tell who has done it because votes are cast on unnamed ballots (Longely 103).

In many of our nation’s past elections, the Electoral College has demonstrated its capacity to give the win to the real loser. For example, in 1888 Grover Cleveland was the winner of the popular vote by just about 100,000 votes. His opponent Benjamin Harrison won the election because of his win in the electoral votes. This also happened in 1876 when Rutherford B. Hayes stole the election from Samuel J. Tilden (6: 159 -162).

These examples demonstrate why the Electoral College should be either eliminated or at least controlled. Because of these failures of the Electoral College, numerous options have been thought through to prevent further complications. Since the Electoral College is in the Constitution, it would take an amendment to create any change what so ever. If we could change to a direct popular vote, many third parties may emerge into the running (“Electoral College”).

Ideas that have been introduced have been trying to work since when it was first created. If the Electoral College were to be completely demolished the concept of the direct election would be the best way to go. Under this form, all citizens who are eligible would vote for the candidate they feel best fits the position. If we have sixty million people that can vote in the United States a candidate would need thirty million plus one to win (Glennon 19). Under this option, the candidate that the majority of the people want as president will actually become the President.

The other will not somehow weasel his way out of it. In two states, the Electoral College has already had its total power limited. Maine and Nebraska have their own little plan. The idea of a popular vote is used in these two states. In Maine, there are four electoral votes. Three belong to the major statewide popular vote winner and the other goes to the candidate who wins the 2nd congressional district. In both areas, whoever wins the popular vote gets some of the electoral votes (Curry).

We have been speaking about changing it for years and finally, it’s such a big issue. It was very interesting how this happened just as I was old enough to vote. I know that if I were still not old enough I wouldn’t care as much. I would be very caught up in the whole situation but would not mind. Now that I have voted I feel that I am still excluded along with everyone else in the nation that casts their vote. It reminds me of how insignificant I am in the process. Because of this, I agree with those who want a change. In my opinion, I feel that having the Electoral College is bad, but not what is holding us down the most.

The winner-takes-all function is a major problem. If we can somehow get that to fall apart our elections will work much better. The “Electoral College” under its present form has got to go. If a candidate wins the popular vote he should ultimately be declared the people’s favorite and therefore should not have to deal with being voted out by a silly electoral vote.

If we can somehow compromise the situation I think that our nation will benefit the greatest. Let’s say for example that if a candidate wins 65% of the votes in a given state, he will also receive 65% of the electoral votes. This way, having no winner-takes-all system, the candidate who wins the popular vote will win the electoral vote also. So we won’t have to deal with all of the past problems that we as a nation have had.


Example #2

The Electoral College in the United States is a mechanism adopted by the constitution for the indirect election of both the president and the vice president. Citizens in each state and the District of Colombia vote for electors, who total the equal numbers of senators and representatives 538, at a general election who then in return votes for a particular party’s candidate be it the Republican or the Democrats candidate.

Each elector is only allowed to cast one vote for the president and another for the vice president. The candidate who receives the most votes in the Electoral College elections held on the third Monday of December. The vote is then certified by the Congress in early January, and the term of office for the newly elected president and vice president starts on January 20th at noon.

The Electoral College was originally set up to help retain a representative form of government. The system does have a few pros or benefits to the voters. For instance, it is seen to enhance the status of a minority interest (Cebula, pg. 56). Ethnic minority groups in the United States tend to concentrate in minority states with the most electoral votes, and their interests are therefore not diminished by depressing voter participation.

The Electoral College is seen to save the interests of citizens found in less bustling locations. Another advantage of the Electoral College is the fact that it facilitates a two-party system in the nation which creates more stability (Edwards III). It also directs more power to the states by allowing them to choose delegates and this helps in maintaining a representative form of government.

The Electoral College system of voting is marred by three major flaws. First, there is the risk that the winner of the popular vote will not win the presidency, e.g. the last election in 2016 where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote (Colomer, etc pg 32). The second flaw is that the constitution does not require the electors to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state. It is, however, required but not expected.

Another flaw is that if neither candidate wins either of the votes, popular or electoral, the elections would have to be decided in the House of Representatives. This then means that each state is only allowed one vote and states with smaller populations would be equal to the states with larger populations. If a representative of a state is indecisive, then the state loses its vote.

Faithless electors are members of the Electoral College who do not vote for the presidential candidate they had pledged to vote for. They either end up voting for a different candidate or fail to vote at all. In some states like Colorado, Minnesota, and Michigan, electors are forced to vote according to the States popular vote or for the candidate, they pledged for (National Archives article). Failure to which they get disqualified and are replaced. They have however never changed the outcome of an electoral process but are however there to make a statement.

The popular vote does have more potential if the Electoral College can be abolished. The Electoral College violates the intent of the founders and therefore the popular vote, which advocates for democracy, should be a replacement for the Electoral College. The popular vote allows each citizen with the right to vote to have their voice heard and not give their power to select few who may not even share in their choice of candidate. The Electoral College does interfere with the democratic way of decision making in that it diminishes the importance of the popular vote.

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The general rule of democracy is “one person one vote” which gets skewed by the Electoral Vote (Glennon, Michael J, pg 10). The latest presidential election proved that wasn’t the case, and that the president is not elected that way (Pilkington). The larger states end up having more votes than, the smaller states and this leads to disproportionate power.

Unlike the Electoral College, the popular vote will force the candidates to equally spread out their campaigns all over the country instead of campaigning in the few large states as it is the case now. By shifting the voting process from the Electoral College to the popular vote, helps in reducing partisanship and disenfranchising.

The presidential election should be determined using the National Popular vote. This helps prevent candidates from winning without winning the popular vote nationwide. This helps prevent cases where the nation’s president is only elected by only twelve states ignoring the other thirty-eight in general and voters in these states being rendered irrelevant since the majority of the states have a “winner takes it all” policy (Beinart).

In conclusion, the Electoral College vote as a system of electing a president is no longer the best system to determine the nation’s president and the vice president. Congress should consider passing the national vote bill as it will help promote democracy better than the Electoral College system of voting does (Trees). The national popular vote determines the president by guaranteeing the presidency to the candidate who receives the popular vote in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. When the Electoral College meets to vote, the candidate who receives the popular vote receives all the electoral votes of all enacting states.


Example #3

The Electoral College, friend or foe? The answer behind this question is in the minds of those that understand it. Whether it be a “friend” or a “foe” there will always be opposing sides and a controversial verse. Since the political circumstance of today, the Electoral College seems to be the topic in every conversation and the thesis to every essay.

The uncontrollable desire to know the truth behind the mystery is stirring in the minds of the people in the United States of America. With the 2000 Elections underway sides are beginning to be taken among the people. Many oppose the Electoral College because of the fact that unknowing electors choose their leader and many support it because it was created by the founding fathers. Both sides are arguable and not one side is right.

The question is: Can a system be created to satisfy both sides of the American public? The founding fathers created the Electoral College for many reasons. One of the reasons was to give the people the right to have a say on who becomes president and another reason was to give congress the right to choose as well. At the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, this was a topic that aroused many opposing ideas and opinions.

They had three choices, to allow the public direct elections, grant congress the right to elect the president or give electors the privilege of selecting the country leader. What they were trying to do was to prevent absolute power. Since they had their taste of King George’s way of ruling they were afraid that if they let one group of people choose the president then that group would gain too much power or the president elected would feel too powerful. After many disputes and disagreements, the delegates finally reached a decision.

Consequently, they created a complex “filtering” process known as the Electoral College. This way both the people and congress could elect the president, or at least that was what was intended. The structure of the Electoral College was similar to that of the Centurial Assembly system of the Roman Republic. “Under that system, the adult male citizens of Rome were divided, according to their wealth, into groups of 100 (called Centuries). Each group of 100 was entitled to cast only one vote either in favor of against proposals submitted to them by the Roman Senate.” – as stated by William C. Kimberling, Deputy Director FEC Office of Election Administration.

The Founding Fathers obviously knew if the Centurial Assembly worked for the Roman Republic because they were well schooled in ancient history, but were they sure if this ancient system of elections worked for their present-forever changing day? In order to answer that question, they had to put it to the test.

The Electoral College is made up of 538 members. Each member represents a state. The electors are equal to the number of representatives and senators a state has. For example, if a state has 20 representatives and senators (always 2) than it has 22 electors. But in order to maintain a balance between the legislative and executive branches no member of Congress and employees of the Federal Government can become electors.

On Tuesday following the first Monday of November, the people in each state cast their votes or in other words cast their ballots for the party slate of Electors representing their choice for president. The party slate with the most votes wins that state’s Electors, meaning that the presidential ticket with the majority votes in a state wins all the Electors of that state. On the Monday following the second Wednesday of December, the Electors meet in their state capitals and cast their votes, one for president and one for vice president. The completed votes are then sealed and sent to the President of the Senate, which is the Vice President of the U.S, who then opens and reads the result of the votes on the following January 6 to both houses of Congress.

The candidate for president with the most votes (270 or higher) wins the election and is declared president. The vice-presidential candidate with the absolute majority of votes is declared vice-president. In a case where there is no absolute majority of electoral votes for president. The U.S House of Representatives selects the president by only one vote being cast from each state. The majority then wins. A similar method is used when there is a tie or there is no absolute majority between the vice-presidential candidates; it is sent to the Senate instead of the House of Representatives.

Then when everything is finalized at noon on January 20 the elected president and vice-president are sworn into office. The process of electing a President is a long and troublesome method. The Electoral College has had its time in the spotlight not just now with the 2000 elections but in other times, such as the Elections of 1800 and 1888. In the Elections of 1800, Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson ran for president with Federalist Aaron Burr as his running mate. Running against them was Federalist John Adams and Federalist Charles C. Pinckney. This election was considered the “Revolution of 1800″ because of its unusual occurrence. Electors had to place two votes, one for president the other for vice-president. On their ballot the Electors had to indicate the vote was for president or vice-president.

The one with the absolute majority of the time would become president, the runner up would be vice president. When the presidential Electors went to cast their vote they did not distinguish between the presidential candidate and vice-presidential candidate. Therefore, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr both received the same number of electoral votes, 73, defeating their opponents.

Some of the Electors thought they were making a vice-presidential vote but no one did. This unusual tie was sent to the House of Representatives to make the decision. Weeks passed and no one received the absolute majority (9 states). After 35 ballots and the convincing nature of Federalist Alexander Hamilton, on the 36th ballot, Thomas Jefferson was finally declared President.

Aaron Burr as runner up became Vice-President. Because of this election, the 12 Amendment was passed. This amendment made Electors cast separate ballots for President and Vice- President in order to avoid confusion such as the one above. It also states that the votes would be counted separately in front of Congress by the president of the Senate. In order to win there must be a majority vote. The election of 1800 definitely made a lasting impact on the United States. Because of that election, the 12th Amendment was added to the Constitution. Many other elections after that one brought up a lot of confusing and new obstacles. The Election of 1888 is the only obvious instance where the Electoral College went against the popular vote.

Republican Benjamin Harrison and Democratic Grover Cleveland ran against each other in this tight race. The popular vote was for Grover Cleveland with 100,000 votes over Benjamin Harrison. When it came time for the Electors to cast their vote Benjamin Harrison, the original loser, won the election with 65 more Electoral votes than Grover Cleveland, 233 to 168. He was inaugurated by the 23rd president of the United States. The controversial issue of the Electoral College began with the first elections it held. Due to the present-day election problem, it is evident to see that the people want something done about the “Constitutional” Electoral College.

Those who are for the Electoral College have their reasons such as it balances the power between the people and the government, it was started by the Founding Fathers of the Constitution and it gives equal say to the small states so the large states don’t control the entire election. Though they have reasonable views, every reason there is equally arguable. For instance, their argument stating that the Electoral College balances the power between the people and the government is false.

How could it balance out the power between the people and government if a popular vote from the people is not even considered the end of an election, while the Electors basically control the election? It is obvious to see that the people’s vote is not counted because if it was then all it would take to elect a president would be a popular vote. As I see it there are many problems in the current electoral college system. First, a president can be elected even if it is not what the people want.

For instance, the current elections (2000) can precisely prove my point. Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote with a slim difference of Republican George W. Bush’s votes. Even though it was a slim difference, he won the popular vote nonetheless. Instead of granting Gore the presidency, it seems that the lucky Bush will be crowned “king”. How important is the people’s vote? Another problem is that the electors that go against their designated vote are not punished. They are holding duty and responsibility for the people and yet when they disappoint and backstab them they are not punished or even fined.

The destiny of The United States of America is in the palms of those electors. “There’s no justification for the Electoral College–none”, says George C. Edwards III, director of the Center for Presidential Studies at Texas A&M University. “ We have invested so much in this nation in the principle of `one person, one vote’. We’ve expanded the franchise to make sure that everyone votes– And for someone– no matter who wins the popular vote– to quite legally take the presidency, entirely contrary to democratic principles, is very hard to justify.” Many people nowadays feel the abolishment of the Electoral College should be done.

Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton called for eliminating the Electoral College, and polls show that many Americans share her view. Not only have the polls shown but so has a government official, a person filled with knowledge on this constitutional and governmental subject, that an Electoral College can only do us harm. Many times in U.S history has the Electoral College let the American public down, 15 times to be exact has the electoral college voted someone into the presidency that was against the popular vote. Unfortunately, there may be a 16th time. Without the Electoral College, there wouldn’t be a 16th time or any more “times” at all.

In conclusion, I feel the Electoral College should be abolished. Not only would it guarantee a popular vote election but it would end all the major confusion and ruckus a “normal” election usually has. “The American `democracy’ has existed for over 200 years, and citizens are ready, as they have been for decades, if not centuries, to finally control their own country. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!” (Ben Wildavsky author of “School of Hard Knocks”).


Example #4

Who is really voting, the people, or the selected few? The recent election involving Bush and Gore has heated up a fifty-year-old debate. The debate is about whether the Electoral College is still an effective system considering the circumstances the United States now faces compared to when it was created by the founding fathers. The Electoral College is an outdated system of election that misrepresents the people of the United States today.

The college was created in a time where communication was limited. Treason, tyranny, and oppression from foreign countries were still a serious threat. In order to protect the people and the institution of America, the government created an election system that allowed the final vote to rest in the hands of a trusted and respected few. These selected few could disregard the popular vote because there was and still is “no Constitutional provision or federal law requiring electors to vote in accordance with the popular vote in their states (National Archives and Records Administration).”

For about one hundred and fifty years the United States has used a system that does not coincide with the most popular opinion, but yet, it has been the prevailing system that has not substantially changed with the evolution of American society. By the definition given by The New Lexicon Webster’s Dictionary Encyclopedic Edition, Democracy is a “Government by the people, usually through elected representatives.” People elect representatives to represent them in the overall government. For example, if the people of the state of Florida vote in the election between the two candidates Bush and Gore, and the majority of the people vote for Gore and the representatives, meaning the twenty-five electors of the state, vote for Bush, then there has been a misrepresentation.

How is this country a Democracy when such a flaw would destroy the sole purpose of a democracy, which is to represent the majority of the people? According to William C. Kimblerling, Deputy Director FEC Office of Election Administration, the founders created a system that has performed its function for over 200 years and any alternatives to it appear more problematic than is the College itself. This system has performed its function of electing a President and does fully represent the selected few who get to actually vote, but the nation of citizens who think they are voting are being misled. When the founders created this system of election, they accounted for the many problems faced by a new nation with new citizens. Because of the pristine age of the country, the founders knew they faced different problems of creating a system compared to the older powers of the world.

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The influence of other world powers was a foreseeable problem, so the founders had to limit the public vote in order to protect the new nation. The Electoral College was a brilliant 18th-century device to solve the problem of electing a president with states ranging in size. The problems faced by the founders were the difficulty of travel and the absence of political parties during the 18th century.

Because traveling and communication from one state to another took days and sometimes months, it was almost impossible for any normal farmer or shop owner to make an educated guess with a lack of up to date information. Also, considering there were no political parties at the time, no person could choose a candidate with common beliefs of their own unless they had some form of information that would be distributed to every citizen. The founders agreed that the best way to select a president would be to elect responsible trusted people of the government to become apart of the Electoral College.

Each state is allowed a vote for the “total number of senators and representatives it sends to the U.S. Congress (National Archives and Records Administration).” With this system in place, each state would have fair representation. The system would hopefully have trusted and educated Electors who would be unaffected by partisan politics. The problems faced were more numerous than just travel and communication during the 18th century, William C. Kimberling explains why the Electoral College was created. William C. Kimberling wrote an essay pertaining to the creation and effectiveness of the Electoral College.

The first problem was the fact that the Union “was composed of thirteen large and small states jealous of their own rights and powers and suspicious of any central national government (Kimberling).” In a sense, all states are still competing but are no longer suspicious of any central government because of the fact that the United States has had to stand central government of its own for about two and a quarter centuries now and no militant state such as Montana could overthrow the government. The threat of an oppressive leader is not obsolete, but nowhere near as apparent as it was in 1776.

The second problem the founders faced was that the United States “contained only 4,000,000 people spread up and down a thousand miles of Atlantic seaboard barely connected by transportation or communication (so that national campaigns were impractical even if they had been thought desirable) (Kimberling).” A thought to remember for future consideration would be that the country is no longer inaccessible, meaning candidates do stage national campaigns and have been for the last hundred and seventy years. This simple fact would allow people to make a good conscious choice now that a candidate is fully accessible to all.

A third problem facing the founders was how to elect a president in a nation that “believed, under the influence of such British political thinkers are Henry St John Bolingbroke, that political parties were mischievous if not downright evil, and felt that gentlemen should not campaign for public office (The saying was “The office should seek the man, the man should not seek the office.”) (Kimberling).” This is completely true in a sense of what Americans believe in, but what people believe in is not necessarily what people do.

People are inherently power-hungry and selfish to some degree, so the idea that people should not seek the most powerful position in the world is a flaw in the founder’s thinking. Also, in order to come to power, there must be support from others, and people only support what they believe in. If people unite for common beliefs, a group is formed. If the beliefs of a group deal with politics, a political party has formed.

This is another flaw the founders made because again they based their thinking on that which people believed in and not with what people would actually do. Kimberling goes on to explain that “The Electoral College was designed to represent each state’s choice for the presidency (with the number of each State’s electoral votes being the number of its Senators plus the number of its Representatives).

To abolish the Electoral College in favor of a nationwide popular election for president would strike at the very heart of the federal structure laid out in our Constitution and would lead to the nationalization of our central government – to the detriment of the states.” Kinberling agrees that the states have adopted a method of appointing Electors by a popular vote throughout a state. Meaning that when Electors are elected to the College they usually pledge their vote to the party that they received their support from. Again, this means that if the popular vote for the presidency in Florida was for Gore, and the majority of the Electors in Florida were pledged to the Republican Party who was backing Bush, all of the elector votes would go to Bush even though the majority of the population of Florida voted for Gore.

Although this could happen, it most likely won’t. With the media today, the nation would be in an uproar if this situation occurred. Whether it could or could not happen, it is still a flaw or loophole that could create serious problems during the election process. There are many flaws in the Electoral system that backers of the system refuse to acknowledge. If they do acknowledge the flaws, they answer them by saying that the current system is better than any others out there.

But there are better systems out there that could be used. This is where the major flaw in the Electoral College is: the mere fact that the elected are not required to represent the people that they work for. Kimberling’s response to this flaw is that “Proponents of the Electoral College point out that it was never intended to reflect the national popular will.” In other words, representatives were never intended to represent.

An example would be found in Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland race for the presidency in 1888. Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, states that the “defeated candidate (Grover Cleveland), polled 5,540,050 popular votes to 5,444,337 for Benjamin Harrison; however, Cleveland received only 168 electoral votes to Harrison’s 233.” The reason given for this upset by Kimberling is that “Democrat Grover Cleveland, ran up huge popular majorities in several of the 18 States which supported him while the Republican challenger, Benjamin Harrison, won only slender majorities in some of the larger of the 20 States which supported him (most notably in Cleveland’s home state of New York).” Cleveland’s majority of the popular vote throughout the population of the nation did not matter to four hundred and one electors who decided that Harrison should win.

Because of cases such as Cleveland vs. Harrison, the country has tried to fix and even abolish the Electoral system. One idea to abolish the Electoral system came from Steven Hill, a writer from the Christian Science Monitor. He believes that the U.S. should incorporate the use of an “instant runoff” system. This system is used in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland. “An instant runoff allows voters to rank their top, second, and third choices on the same ballot.” By doing this, a voter has allowed the government to use their second and third choices as votes if the party candidates do not meet a required majority for the presidency. At the same time, you could eliminate the Electoral College and let the people vote directly for the presidency. Another fix the critics of the Electoral College would push for would be the elimination of the “winner-take-all” system of the Electoral College.

This system of which presidential candidate wins the most popular votes within a state wins all of that state’s Electors ( Kimberling, 6). In Microsoft Encarta, an article that describes the overall view of the Electoral College, the critics of the “electoral method contend that the true sentiments of the voters are distorted by the winner-take-all system, as well as by the fact that population and voter turnout are not accurately reflected.” Critics agree that this system is unfair and should be replaced with a direct popular election and thus eliminating the winner-take-all system is a step in that direction.

After considering all of the pro’s and con’s, I still believe that the Electoral College is an outdated system. All of the backers of the system are still paranoid of presidential take over from extreme parties because they believe the public is not educated enough to make the proper choice.

Maybe it is true, many people do not know the first thing about politics. Personally, I believe I am too inexperienced in the field of politics to be voting for candidates that would put them in the most powerful seat in the world, but whether I am experienced or not, I believe the selected few should not decide the future of the whole.

Because many people like myself are inexperienced, does not mean the entire United States is inexperienced. There are many politically inspired and educated people besides the elected 538 that should decide the future of this nation. The future should be left to the open mind of the entire population, and not to the limited mind of the few.


Example #5

Many Americans take pride in the fact that the United States has a democratic form of rule. They believe they directly elect their officials to represent them. This is no truth in all cases. The Presidency is not a directly elected office. Many Americans do not realize they do not vote for the President. The Electoral College actually elects the President. The Electoral College is a flawed institution that needs to be reformed.

The Framers of the Constitution devised the electoral system based on the fact they had little faith voters would be making the best decision. It was a check on the power of the voters. The Framers saw themselves above most citizens. The average citizen was not well educated and therefore may make an unwise decision. This is no longer the case.

Before any debate, it was assumed the best system of electing the president was to have congress do it. However, if congress was to elect the president, then the president might feel an obligation to help congress get certain laws passed by not vetoing. This would put a dent in the checks and balances system. Even with this problem the system was voted for and approved on four different occasions (McGaughey 80).

Basically the Electoral College system works like this today. Every ten years the census figures adjust how many representatives each state has. This number plus two, representing the two senators, equals how many electors each state has. Also, Washington DC has 3 electors. Then each state has the right to decide how to select these electors.

Forty-eight states use the general ticket system, two, Maine and Nebraska, to use the district system. The general ticket system is supposed to operate as follows. There is a direct vote election held in each state and the winner of the vote is supposed to get all of that states electoral votes. In 24 states the electors are required to vote as pledged. In Maine and Nebraska, there is an election held in each congressional district.

The winner of every district gets one electoral vote, and the candidate with the most electoral votes gets the remaining two electoral votes. Then all of the votes are counted, and if a candidate gets more than half the votes, he becomes s the new president. If there is no majority then the election gets thrown into the House of Representatives.

There each state is given one vote and they vote on the top three candidates. If a candidate gets a majority vote, then he becomes president. If not they continue voting until a majority is reached and the speaker of the house becomes a temporary president until a majority is reached (Hoar 30).

The 1968 election race was extremely close. Richard Nixon barely received a majority of the electoral votes to win the presidency. Had Nixon failed to get a majority a number of bizarre scenarios might have emerged. The candidates in the race were Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace respectively.

Had Nixon failed to win a majority Wallace would have been in a position to control who the next President would be (Bailey & Shafritz p. 65). Though he could not have won himself Wallace could have used his votes as swing votes to give Nixon a majority, or give Humphrey enough to prevent Nixon from getting a majority (Bailey & Shafritz p. 65). In the latter instance, the issue would have, as in 1800, been sent to the House for rectification.

In either instance, Wallace would have had a great deal to gain, and the temptation to wheel and deal (at the compromise of democracy) would have been great indeed. It is possible Wallace could have used his influence with Southern House members to get Humphrey elected. In the process, he would have likely garnered great political clout for himself. Wallace could have bargained with Nixon for an administration position in Nixon’s cabinet in return for Wallace’s electoral votes. The possible scenarios are endless, and for the most part irrelevant. What is relevant is that the processes of the Electoral College again paved a path for democratic compromise, just as it did in the 1800s.

As I see it there are still two problems with the current Electoral College system. First, a president can be elected to office even if it is not what the people want. Another problem is that the system for electing a president if no electoral majority is reached. I believe we should totally abolish the Electoral College. It no longer needs to serve the same purpose that it did when it was founded. It was intended to be a check on the power of the voter. If we live in a democracy, why do we need a check on the voter? It does not make sense. The media helps us to learn more about the elections and candidates. People are more informed.

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Rather than the Electoral College system, the United States should hold the presidential elections as a direct election. In other words, the winner is the candidate who receives the most votes.

In the Electoral College system, a few votes in a state where the election was a landslide did not matter much. The electoral votes went to the winner no matter how large the margin of victory. For example, if a candidate won the state of California by 300 votes he won all electoral votes. He only won by 300 votes, yet he gained a huge advantage by winning a very large state.

There is no clear majority won in California, not under the Electoral College system, it seems like it was a landslide. If we make it a direct popular election, the race is much tighter. The winner of California is only ahead by 300 votes, an amount that can be made up easily.

The direct election system assures that the winner of the election will be the candidate who receives the most votes. It is very possible in the electoral system to win a majority of electoral votes, but not win the popular vote. It happened three times in the 1800s.

The larger and smaller states will no longer have an advantage over the other states. With the Electoral College system the larger states, such as California and Florida, have a distinct advantage over the rest of the states. They carry many more electoral votes. Candidates tend to campaign more in these states because they realize how important they are to them.

Smaller states that have very few people. The number of voters represented per electoral vote is much lower. In one state it maybe 750,000 people per electoral vote. In another maybe 450,000 people per electoral vote. Fewer people, yet they have the same amount of power. This is not fair to the states with midsize populations. The direct election system would eliminate this advantage.

The Electoral College system of electing the president is outdated. It misrepresents the population. Larger and smaller states have a distinct advantage. The voters do not have the final say in whom will lead their country. It goes against the whole idea of a democracy.


Example #6

In order to increase the ease of creating and establishing a federal government with a central figure of office, the framers of the Constitution created the Electoral College. The College was formed to ease the process of electing a president every four years.

The idea behind the Electoral College was that each state received a certain number of electoral votes according to its population, all of which went to the candidate who won that States popular vote. In this day and age, questions arise as to whether or not this is the best and most efficient method of electing this nation’s most powerful office.

There exist some possibilities, however unlikely, that the popular vote and the Electoral vote could conflict, and the candidate whom more people desire as president would lose out to a person who won more electoral college votes, but less popular. Consider this scenario. State A has 20 Electoral College votes. State B has 10. There are 100 people in State A and 50 people in State B. In State A 51 people vote for Joe and 49 for Jack. In-State B, 1 person votes for Joe, and 9 people vote for Jack.

This all totals up to 51 popular votes for Joe and 58 for Jack, but 20 Electoral Votes for Joe and 10 for Jack. Joe wins the election, yet Jack had more people vote for him. This can be taken even to the largest scale, for this very incident has occurred in our nation?s history. In the presidential race of 1888 between Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison, Cleveland won the populace by over 100,000 votes, but when broken down into Electoral College votes, Harrison won by a rather large margin. (Hively, 75)

This argument remains at the forefront of the Electoral College reform movement. The thought that a plurality of voters may not elect a president is ghastly to many people, especially the majority of the uneducated electorate who were not aware that the President is not elected by direct popular vote.

Many reforms have been offered as alternatives to this system, and in 1977 Congress introduced a bill to finally reform it. The bill won a simple majority in both the House and the Senate, however, it needed to garner 2/3 of the votes, since it required changing the Constitution. (Hively, 75) Thus, the bill died, although it is expected to gain popularity once more in the future.

The most powerful alternative to the present system is not to completely abolish the Electoral College. If you have read this essay closely you will realize that the deepest problem with the Electoral College lies in the fact that the majority winner of a state gets all of it?s Electoral votes. A “winner takes all” system if you will.

Therefore, a state’s electoral votes should be divided proportionally among the two top candidates. If there are more than two candidates who received less popular votes than the top two, they should be stricken from the Electoral College ballot. Then take a percentage of voters who voted for third and fourth place candidates, and subtract that from a States total number of Electoral College votes.

The remaining number of Electoral Votes should be divided among the two top candidates proportionally. When all states involved have completed this process, the total number of stricken votes in the entire nation should be passed on to the House of Representatives and thrown into an open vote. The candidate who receives more House votes gets that number of Electoral votes. This is a complicated process but is nonetheless the best way to get a good general consensus so that an election can not possibly be dominated by individual states.

Although the Electoral College system was fairly good when it was conceived, and worked well according to the desires of the Constitutional Framers, it does not conform to the desires of America?s rapidly educating the populace.

One of the key ideas behind the creation of the Electoral College lied in the Framer?s base mistrust in the people of America. In 1787 the people of America were uneducated farmers and merchants. In 1999 the people of America are educated, represented, and more than worthy of being in more direct control of the Election of America?s highest office.


Example #7

The Electoral College is the name given to a group of electors who are nominated by political activists and party members within the states. The electoral college really isn’t necessary and should be abolished. There are numerous reasons why this is so. With the Electoral College in effect, third parties don’t have a chance to become the president, which isn’t fair. Electors are expected to be honest but in the past, our country has caught some untruthful ones.

The Electoral College was created so long ago that it is now outdated, so we shouldn’t even have electors. People of the U.S. may think that they are participating in a direct election for the president, but with the Electoral College system technically, this isn’t the case.

Having only two candidates running for the leader of our country restricts our choices for president. If a third party wins the majority of the popular vote, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will be the president because it’s all up to the electors. If the candidate doesn’t win the electors’ votes then they will not have a chance of winning. This happened in the 2000 election. This is very unjust. “In 1992 Ross Perot won more popular votes than Clinton, but he did not win any electoral votes so he was dropped from the election (Glennon, 1992).”

We are supposed to have faith in the electors of our state. In theory, they are supposed to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote of that state, but you can’t always trust them to do so. You may think that they are voting for who they should, but they could be really voting for who they want. Electors also vote quite a time after the people. With the time in between, certain things could change their minds on who they want to win. “There have only been twelve unfaithful electors in U.S. history. The most recent was in 1988 in West Virginia (Glennon, 1992).”

The Electoral College was created 200 years ago and times have definitely changed. People are well educated these days and have a better understanding of the whole election process. Two centuries ago people didn’t have TV, radio, news broadcasting, or the internet.

These are all good sources to supply us with more than enough coverage of the elections at hand. The whole system makes no sense because depending on how big a state is, depends on how many electors that state has. The smaller the state, the more electors it has. It should be the other way around. Also, population density has changed over time.

If a candidate wins the popular vote but not the electoral, then they do not win the election. This is unfair. If the people want a certain person for their leader than that’s who it should be. The Constitution says to fairly represent the people. The Electoral College is the total opposite. How people feel doesn’t even matter. People shouldn’t even vote if their vote doesn’t count. What’s the point? In a democracy, people are the most important. The Electoral College prohibits people to be the most important.

Considering all these facts and circumstances, it is clear that the Electoral College is not something that this country needs. It goes against everything this country stands for. The U.S. is a well educated, intellectual country, that has the capability to choose a president. The Electoral College should be history.


Example #8 – Interesting ideas

That is the system we use to select our president in the November Election.

The Electoral College is still a good system and we should keep it.

The Electoral College was in part designed to force the candidates to appeal to a broad range of people in many states large and small. If we did away with this system, the candidates would be able to focus on getting votes in several large cities. They might ignore the less populated portion of the country.

Remember that the United States is a union of 50 separate and independent states. We are not just one big country. On Election Day we do not have one big national election, but instead, we hold 50 separate elections, one for each state. In this way, each state determines who they want to be President. Each state has different rules that determine how their electors in the college must vote. Almost all states require all of their electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote for that state. Your vote does count!

Each state has electors equal to their total number of congressional seats in the House and Senate. This gives small states like Wyoming and Rohde Island power in the Electoral College that is slightly disproportionate to their population. This is much like the way these small states have slightly disproportionately more power in Congress. This was a compromise that the founding fathers came up with to prevent the states with large populations dominating the national government and exercising control over smaller states.

The fact that on rare occasions the winner of the Electoral College vote will be different from the winner of the nationwide popular vote is not an accident or flaw in the system. The nationwide popular vote is not even mentioned in the constitution. It is merely a number that the news media reports. The founding fathers never had any intention that our President should be elected by way of the national popular vote.

A constitutional amendment would be required to change the system. Small states would never agree to ratify such an amendment. It is highly unlikely that it would ever pass.

The Electoral College was set up to keep the Presidential contest National and not regional. Because of the Electoral College, each candidate is forced to at least look at each state. He/she is forced to look at the entire USA. Without the Electoral College, the candidates would be able to concentrate on a much smaller area. A smaller area is also easier to promote voter fraud. We all know that voter fraud takes place. However, the Electoral College means you must look at more than one area of the nation.

Most people feel that the Electoral College benefits Large states such as California, Texas, New York to name a few but in reality, it benefits the small states. The candidate needs our votes in many states to reach that 270.

If you look at past election maps {showing Electoral College votes} you will find that sometimes Texas votes for the Democratic candidate and sometimes California votes for the Republican candidate. Any election is up for grabs. If you are a died in the wool Republican your electors will not go to Sacramento to cast votes for the President as often but it can happen. That is why you should vote for your candidate in every election.

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