Point of View
The Problem With The Electoral College
By LaDale Anderson
Nov 1, 2012 - 7:20:48 PM

UNITED STATES—By now, most of us are well aware that the winner of the presidency is crowned by the Electoral College. There are a total of 538 electoral votes at stake for the presidency on November 6.  In order to be crowned victor, the candidate must have 270 electoral votes. 

 

As long as a candidate has the needed number of electoral votes, they are victorious, regardless of the fact that another candidate may have the popular vote.  This was a huge argument for proponents during the 2000 election.  George Bush may have won the electoral votes, but Al Gore was victorious with the popular vote.

 

The number of electoral votes that each state gets depends on the population.  It’s no secret that some states have a lot more citizens than others, and their number of electoral votes is much higher.  Take for example Alaska which has 3 electoral votes compared to Texas which has 38 electoral votes.  Texas gained four additional votes in the last four years.  A state can lose or gain votes based on population changes in the region. 

 

My biggest gripe with the Electoral College is if the United States is indeed a country based on democracy, the Electoral College is not a democratic process when it comes to electing a President.  It is indeed true the candidate that receives the most votes in a particular state tends to win those electoral votes for that state, but what happens when one candidate overwhelmingly has the popular vote across all states, but fails to claim the prize?  That idea of what we call a DEMOCRACY haunts me.  If we are indeed a nation where the popular vote reigns supreme, that means the person with the most votes should win the election not the person who has the electoral votes.  The message sent to the rest of the voters in the country is that (in an unintentional way) their vote holds no precedence. 

 

If the Electoral College was indeed eliminated candidates would be forced to campaign in all regions, which is likely to increase the turnout of voters.  Let’s face it; we are all informed that our vote counts, but so many people believe that is not true.  With the popular vote determining the outcome of the election people are more likely to let their voice be heard because in the end a single vote could absolutely change the outcome of election.  The weight of one vote does not outweigh another vote; they both have equal effect. 

 

So if America is truly founded in democracy, how can we promote the importance of a democratic government if the Electoral College is used to crown a President?  That is a question every American has to ask themselves.



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