Opinion: The Electoral College Should Not Exist

Jiya Patel, Editor-In-Chief

One of America’s core values is properly reflecting the wants of its citizens. Laws are decided for the people, by the people. It is what makes this country such a revolutionary and advanced society. The question remains then, if America prides itself on being a representative democracy, why is the leader of the country picked in a way that doesn’t at all respect or honor this?

In the United States, the president is not decided by the national majority vote, but instead is decided by the Electoral College. The Electoral College is not at all a proper representation of our citizens’ wants, but rather an outdated and inconsistent system that often produces results that contradict the choice of voters.

Not only is the Electoral College no longer an accurate way of determining who should lead our country, it is also an unnecessarily convoluted and confusing process. The system begins when a citizen casts their vote for whichever individual they would like to elect as president. Their choices are then reflected by state electors based on what the majority vote was in the state. The number of electors in each state is determined by how many seats in Congress this state has- which is based on the state’s population. In most cases, whatever the majority vote was in the state should be reflected unanimously in all of the states’ electors.

In total, there are 538 electoral votes-535 for the states, and 3 for the District of Columbia. 48 states are winner-takes-all, while Maine and Nebraska give two electoral votes for the statewide winner and one electoral vote for each congressional district. 270 electoral votes are needed for a candidate to win.

One of the reasons the Electoral College is simply not functional anymore is the fact that it is severely outdated. It was established in 1787 at The Constitutional Convention. Originally, it was meant to serve as a compromise between large and small states so that they were all properly represented.

However, the original intents of The Electoral College went much further than that. At this point in time, the only educated population were white males. The key members of The Constitutional Convention put this restraint in order to control whose votes counted. They argued that they didn’t want uneducated voters making the decision for the future of America, and instead that their electors would make the best choice. Figures including George Washington and James Madison purposefully rejected the popular vote because they didn’t trust all the voters.

This doesn’t even begin to address the racist and corrupt origins of the Electoral College. In the beginning of its establishment, the convention applied the three-fifths compromise to voting distribution. This meant that three out of five enslaved people were counted as part of a state’s total population, even though they were prohibited from voting. This gave the South an undeniable advantage and allowed them to control the way the votes fell for years.

This racism hasn’t simply gone away. Many in opposition of the Electoral College claim that that It continues to dilute the power and opinion of African American citizens.

“Because the concentration of black people is highest in the South, their preferred presidential candidate is virtually assured to lose their home states’ electoral votes,” Wilfred U. Codrington III, an assistant professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, said. “Despite black voting patterns to the contrary, five of the six states whose populations are 25 percent or more black have been reliably red in recent presidential elections. Under the Electoral College, black votes are submerged.”

There is irony in the fact that the Electoral College was initially created to represent the whole population yet fails to do exactly that. Instead, it is making the matters worse for underrepresented populations.

Furthermore, one of the biggest arguments in favor of the Electoral College as previously mentioned was that it properly represented the wants of citizens in all states- no matter their size. However, this argument is fatally flawed. When it comes down to it, the opinions of voters aren’t determined by the state they live in, but their own beliefs.

There is no denying that the Electoral College’s role in presidential elections is one that is associated with corruption and claims that voting isn’t accurate.

On five occasions in total, including two in just the last six elections, candidates have won the Electoral College and therefore the presidency, but lost the popular vote. This was the case with the administrations of Bush and Trump. Many have made the claim that elections do not properly reflect the wants of the people, and therefore leaders have had to deal with the suspicions of people that they didn’t earn their position. Restructuring the election won’t completely get rid of this suspicion, but it will make the situation a lot better.

There’s no denying that a majority population vote would not only be fairer, but also more accurate when it comes to truly representing the wants of the population. A majority of the public is also in support of this decision, according to pewreasearch.com, around 63% of US adults say the way the president is elected should be changed so that the winner of the popular vote nationwide wins the presidency. We must grow with the times and continue to shape ourselves as a representative democracy.