270 v. 64 Million

Electoral college problematic for the US

Madeline Halgren, Staff Writer

After the recent election, there have been many questions as to whether or not the electoral college is a valid system for selecting the next President. It is interesting to note that the electoral college system has largely been successful throughout American history. According to the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, the popular vote has disagreed with the electoral college a total of five times. The first three were during the 1800s. However, in more recent years, we have seen this occur during the Bush versus Gore presidential race in 2000, and again this past November with Clinton versus Trump.

It is important to understand what the electoral college is and where it came from. The electoral college is composed of 538 electors. When citizens vote, they are not voting directly for the candidate, rather, they are choosing the electors for their state. The number of electoral votes a state gets is based off of the amount of representatives and senators the state has, which depends on the population.  The reason for this process goes all the way back to the Founding Fathers of our nation.

When setting up the governmental system, James Madison expressed a fear of extremist groupsgroups so passionate that they could take the majority of the popular vote. Another factor that led to the construction of the system was the concern that not enough people were educated enough to vote thoughtfully. Madison believed a system of representation would balance out the extremists and preserve the nation.

Although Madison had valid concerns, with the natural progression of education, social, and economic systems, the electoral college has been proving itself to be outdated. This was demonstrated  in our most recent election where Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over two million but still lost the presidential race. Due to higher education rates and mass communication, our country is a much different place than it was in the 1800s, and the electoral college has not adapted to our modern society.

According to Congressman Gene Green, “The Electoral College was necessary when communications were poor, literacy was low, and voters lacked information about out-of-state figures, which is clearly no longer the case.”

With the use of the electoral college, people feel that their voice is not being heardespecially in the instances where the candidate who won the popular vote lost the election. Though there is representation within the electoral college system, at times it represents the majority incorrectly.

Along with the electoral college’s lack of true representation, it also decreases the amount of people who go out and vote. Some feel that their vote does not matter because their state will still get the same votes whether they participate or not. This discourages people from participating in elections and dampens their voice on important issues which will affect people in the country.

This holds true for some states more than others,  especially California. They receive 55 electoral college votes each election that, for the most part, always go to the Democratic candidate. This discourages Republicans and even Democrats that their vote is important because no matter who they vote for, their state will receive the same number of votes for the Democratic candidate. With just the popular vote, there would be a better representation of the people of California as well as the rest of the country.

Besides the problem of voter turnout in key states, the electoral college determines some states less important than others. Votes in California, Texas, and New York are more important than votes in Minnesota or Colorado. Candidates often do not visit or broadcast campaign ads in states with smaller electoral college votes. This prevents crucial information from reaching parts of the population and makes people in those states feel unimportant to the election.

In a country for the people and by the people this system seems to be fighting against the basic ideals of our nation. The electoral college must be looked at critically. Whether it be edited or abolished completely, the people of the United States should be able to have their voices heard.

The basic premises for the electoral college were well thought out, and it was set in place for the right reasons. Unfortunately, the people who set up the electoral college did not get to see its future downfalls. The electoral college has been successful for the majority of its existence, but it has proven itself unable to evolve with our progressing nation.