Is the Electoral College undemocratic?
Published: Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Updated: Saturday, September 12, 2009 12:09
Most Americans believe that when they go to the voting booth on November 4th, they will be voting directly for the presidential candidate of their choice. That, however, is not the case. The reason is simple: the Electoral College.
The Electoral College was created by the framers of the Constitution in order to be a check on the American people. The idea behind it was that the electors themselves would be wise, prudent men who had a vast knowledge of politics and that the common man would not have enough knowledge to make a wise decision in choosing a president.
This argument is irrelevant today, mainly because of the access we have to the media. We are constantly inundated with information about the candidates, about the political parties and the issues they support. In light of that fact, is the role of the elector still necessary today?
When voting for a candidate, we aren't directly voting for the candidate; we are actually voting for a slate of voters in our state who will cast their vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote in our state.
However, as we've seen in the past, it is possible for a candidate to win the popular vote but still lose the presidency (Election 2000 Bush vs. Gore). Because of the way that the Electoral College is set up, it is still possible to have less popular votes, but still win with more Electoral votes.
I find this process distressing. To know that the majority of Americans may vote for one candidate, but the candidate could still lose, makes me question the role of the Electoral College.
American democracy emphasizes that the people are supposed to govern. If this is the case, it is not acceptable that a process is still in place which could hinder the majority vote. This is allowing for the system to rule, shrouded in a veil of intricacy and tradition, disconnecting the people from the democratic process of directly voting for their candidate.
The current system is winner-take-all, meaning that whichever candidate wins the most votes in a state wins all of the electoral votes. This system effectively disenfranchises millions of voters across America because if they happen to vote for the losing candidate in their state, it's as if their vote does not count. I fail to see how such a system can benefit the American people as a whole.
If a candidate is unable to win a majority of electoral votes, the decision will move to the House of Representatives. If this happens, each state receives one vote in choosing the president. This could mean that California's vote would count the same as Rhode Island. Would it be fair to count their votes equally? If this were to happen, there would be an imbalance between the number of people in each state and the amount of votes each state received.
As it is, the system fails to uphold majority rule and political equality, which are the basic tenets of American democracy.
Every American needs a direct and equal role in electing the president, which is why I believe it is necessary to consider abolishing the Electoral College and replacing it with the direct election of the president by the American people.