Should the Electoral College be Abolished?

Should the Electoral College be Abolished?

Miranda Zaynor, Staff Writer

What is the Electoral College? How does it work? What is its purpose? Why does the United States use this process to elect the President instead of the popular vote? These are all questions I’ve been asking myself in light of the ongoing presidential election. Some people argue that the Electoral College is inherently undemocratic, while others say that it prevents cities and other largely-populated areas from running the country. Before I get into the details of this debate, I’d like to answer some basic questions about the Electoral College itself.

The Electoral College is a group of people, called electors, elected by the people in each state who then elect the President. Electors are appointed by the political parties in each state, meaning if the majority of the people in your state vote for Bernie Sanders in the upcoming election, the electors chosen by the Democratic party will cast their votes for Sanders. 

Oddly enough, electors don’t cast their votes until early December; the results announced in December are projections based upon who won the popular vote in each state. Remember: whoever wins the popular vote in a certain state gets the electoral votes allotted to that state.

When voters make their way to the polls in November, they’re not actually voting to elect the President. Instead, they’re voting to elect people who will then elect the president. Seems a bit unnecessary right?

Doesn’t the popular vote more accurately represent the voices of Americans? If this is true, why isn’t the winner based on the popular vote? The Electoral College was established by the founders and is included in the Constitution. Originally, this concept was created with the assumption that the average American voter didn’t have the resources to be fully informed about the candidates, thus preventing them from choosing the best candidate.

Another argument for keeping the Electoral College around is that this system prevents areas with large populations from controlling the country. According to this, a popular vote would give cities more influence than more rural areas because cities have larger populations. Large cities could push the election in one direction unopposed because they simply have more people and, in turn, more votes. There is also concern that candidates would only focus on certain parts of the country, effectively ignoring rural America.

Despite these arguments, I do not think the Electoral College proves beneficial in today’s political environment and should be abolished. Today, with the mass media making information easily accessible from almost anywhere, the whole “uninformed voter” reasoning seems obsolete. Even those without a subscription to The Washington Post can become decently informed about candidates from their social media accounts. It’s also not always true that an informed voter is one that will choose the best candidate-it all depends on that voter’s sources of information. 

 

The Electoral College system also does not completely protect rural America. In California, for example, most of the population lies in cities, meaning our 55 electoral votes will reflect the voices of those in cities. This, which contradicts a main function of the Electoral College, essentially silences rural California; the same could be said about many other states. 

It seems this argument is centered around protecting the minority. The Electoral College essentially silences the minority vote in states, which completely contradicts the arguments of many that it protects the minority. While many argue that a popular vote would allow cities to control elections, the electoral vote really does the same. 

Our country has changed significantly since 1787 and it’s time our election system changes with it. I believe the Electoral College system is inherently undemocratic and silences the minority it claims to protect. A popular vote would most accurately reflect the voices of all Americans and should be the method of electing our Commander in Chief.

If you have any questions, thoughts, opinions, etc. that you would like to share about this topic please leave a comment! Myself and The Arcade always want to hear from our readers!