Our Country Is Too Smart For The Electoral College

Veronica Liow, Contributing Writer

There have been doubts regarding the role of the Electoral College after the controversial system allowed Donald Trump to secure the presidency despite losing the popular vote.

Interest in the phrase “delete electoral college” has skyrocketed in the days following the election — and for good reason. The system was created by the founding fathers to prevent uneducated voters from dooming the country and to maintain the status quo, but it now has become inherently undemocratic and, quite frankly, outdated.

The Electoral College may have been essential in 1776 — when the education gap reached extreme ends of the spectrum — but we currently live in the 21st century, in which the average citizen is more educated by comparison. Nationally, education has been recognized as a prerequisite for a more successful and progressive nation. As of 2015, each child must participate in an average of a little over 11 years of education. The technological revolution has only further narrowed the gap. With more efficient communication and greater access to information, citizens can now educate themselves. To put it simply, the Electoral College is outdated. There is no longer a need for an elitist group to have the final say in the general election when the education gap is no longer so wide.

The framework of the Constitution was set up to maintain the status quo, and the Electoral College is no exception. Historically, the Electoral College was employed to help more conservative states. With such states having a greater population of slaves, thus giving them greater weight in their votes since slaves still counted as people — three-fifths to be precise. Even after the emancipation of slaves, the Electoral College has continued to help the more conservative states. Of the four times the Electoral College has gone against popular vote, all four have resulted in a win for the conservative party. This is an issue because we are supposedly living in a democracy, yet the foundation of how the president is elected is undemocratic and as a result, not representative of the people.

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Ultimately, we do not need the Electoral College. It shifts the weight of votes towards smaller states — meaning more heavily populated states have less power per vote — and thus, it is unable to fully and fairly represent the American public. In addition, the outdated system is no longer applicable in current times, as access to education has become more prevalent. This argument for the removal of the Electoral College has been written about countless of times, so to many, we’re beating a dead horse. But it’s a horse that needs to be beaten if we want to see progress in today’s society.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

Email Veronica Liow at [email protected]

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Listen, that is futile to think the people can petition the electoral college to change
    their vote. What the American people should be doing is petitioning their respective
    US House of Representatives and US Senators, to call for a constitutional convention to amend the constitution to incorporate a recall amendment to the constitution.
    Make federal Representatives call for constitutional convention. If they refuse then the people can call for a national referendum to amend the constitution. If the people can get
    Thirty eight states to confirm the American people can incorporate a recall amendment into the constitution. Then the people can vote to recall the President of the United States.

  2. I beg to differ with your explanation of the purpose of the electoral college, and whether it still serves a valid purpose.

    About a third of the entire population lives in California, Texas, New York, and Florida. These people have their own interests which are often very different from the people who live in the rest of the country. They have different values. They have different laws. And so on.

    Electing the president by pure popular vote would cause the candidates to focus on, and while in office, cater to these states at the exclusion of all the people who live elsewhere. Geography, not just population, matters. Just as in the Senate, we don’t want to heavily populated states to always get their way. As it is, those states have by far the most electoral votes. They have 28% of the electoral votes and 32% of the popular vote. That is not too far out of whack.

    Voter fraud becomes a much larger problem with straight popular voting. A number of fraudulent votes in California mean nothing today, but with popular voting fraudulent votes affect the national total regardless of where they come from. The incentive to commit fraud will spread from the toss-up states to all the states.

    A close election, as in 1960, will necessitate a recount of the entire country. The incentive to commit post-election fraud, as was alleged in the 2008 election of Al Franken, would become intense.

    If Clinton had won I can guarantee that this issue would not be discussed. As it is, the candidates knew what it would take to be elected, 270 electoral votes. They campaigned with that in mind, utilizing resources accordingly. If the winner of the popular vote would have been elected they would have campaigned much differently, probably spending much more resources running up the vote in the most populous states. We don’t know how that alternative reality would have turned out.

    Complaining about the discrepancy between the popular vote and the electoral vote, when you know it’s the electoral vote that matters, is like insisting that the football team that gained the most yards should be the winner, not the team that scored the most points.

    Perhaps now a president you disdain is in the white house, you will join me in working toward reducing the executive authority that Democrats so carelessly allowed to expand under Obama, with his phone and pen. You’re not going to like Trump’s phone and pen very much.

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