Political Science- Section 2005
December 8 2014 Electoral College flaws
The Electoral College system is unique as it is only used here in the United States. The exclusive system is designed to select both the President and Vice-President. Each state is allotted a certain amount of electoral votes based on their population rather than their land mass. While there are a lot of supporters for the system, there are multiple different theories on reforming the system, and many others believe the system is flawed and does not properly reflect the views of the citizens.
Two hundred plus years ago, the Constitution outlined the Electoral College when they disagreed on who should elect the president. They disagreed on the role of the people, the congress, and the states in the political process. Some favored the direct vote while others lacked confidence in the people to vote. The compromise became what is now the Electoral College. In the two hundred year history of the Electoral College, many have proposed to eliminate it.. Most Americans are unaware of the role of the Electoral College maybe because they mistakenly believe that they directly elect the president and vice president. What they are doing however, when they vote to elect the president and the vice president, is voting for officials known as electors who are assigned to every presidential candidate. These electors have only one responsibility and that being to select the president and vice president.
When the candidate wins the popular vote in a state or the District of Columbia, the electors assigned to that candidate are the ones that vote in the Electoral College. Territories of the United States such as Guam are not given votes. They meet several weeks after the November elections in their respective state or the District of Columbia and cast their votes. They vote for the candidate with the most of the popular vote and that candidate usually wins. The Electoral College has simply sanctioned the popular vote. However, when the race is close as in 2000, the Electoral College may end up choosing the candidate who did not receive the popular vote. In the 2000 elections, Al Gore had over 500,000 more popular votes than George Bush, but lost the Electoral College 271 to 261. In the past, some electors were supposed to have voted for the candidate with the popular vote and did not. These are some reasons so many seek and propose to reform the Electoral College.
The most common criticism of the Electoral College is the winner-take-all system, which can allow the election to pick the wrong winner, the candidate that did not win the popular election. How is that possible? The winner-take all system awards that entire states elector votes to the candidate that obtains the greatest of the popular vote, but in the case of a narrow edge (the candidate that comes in second) gets no electoral votes at all. This means if a candidate wins 3000 votes in a state, and the other wins 2998, the latter gets none of the Electoral College votes for that state. In turn if you win the popular vote overall, you can still lose the election because you did not win the Electoral College. The candidate won the plurality of the Electoral vote because there was no Electoral majority (Leip, D., (2003), The Electoral College). The will of the majority is then frustrated through the operation of the Electoral College. There is a much-needed change in the way that we elect our officials, because as it is, there is a great degree of unfairness in the outcome as the elections of the past have proven. In 1824, John Q. Adams and Andrew Jackson; neither candidate won the majority of the vote, but Adams got the presidency when the House of Representatives made the choice. In 1876, because of the way that the Electoral College benefits the smaller states, Rutherford Hayes won the presidency over Samuel Tilden even though he had lost the popular vote. In 1888, Benjamin