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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 the 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 the 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. 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 Electoral College to the popular vote, helps in reducing partisanship and disenfranchising.
The presidential selection 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. The 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.
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