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Electoral College System Essay

1054 words - 4 pages

Analyze criticism of the "Electoral College" system and the alleged advantages and disadvantages of various reform proposals.

The Electoral College is a system in which the individual voter does not actually vote directly for the president. When a person votes they are voting for an elector that has pledged their vote or allegiance to the running party. The Framers realized that without widespread communications available at the time and with other varying factors an "each vote counts" or "the popular vote" system would not be practical. Because of this they formed the Electoral College system, Under Article II of the US Constitution, although this system was never called this in the Article. This system has survived for over 200 years, with only two changes to it. These would be Amendment 12, and 23 of US Constitution. Many people have throughout the years said that the Electoral College is antiquated and needs to be changed, where as many others defended the Electoral College system.

Some people believe the Electoral College system have many flaws, these can include electing a minority president, faithless Electors, the Electoral College causing a decline in voter turnout, the inequality of votes from large to small states, and the disadvantages for third parties.

One large issue is that a president could be elected without the countries popular vote. One way this can happen is if three or more parties run splitting the Electoral votes so no one party can receive the majority of the votes. This has happened in 1824 and almost happened in 1948, and in 1968. If this does happen Amendment 12 states that the U.S. House of Representatives would then select the president from the top three.

Another big issue is Electors that vote for the opposing running party after pledging their allegiance to another. This is called faithless electors. Faithless electors have caused many peoples faith in the Electoral College to waiver. On many occasions an Elector have placed their vote for the opposing party. To help stop this many states have enacted laws to punish Electors that do this. Although no Elector had ever been prosecuted. Just in this century alone there have been 7 faithless Electors, the most recent was in 1988. Even though this has happened many times, it has never changed the outcome of the election.

Many people fear that the Electoral College may cause a decline in voter turnout. They say that there is no incentive for states to encourage people to vote. They say that people may decline to vote because many believe there vote does not count.

An issue that has plagued the system since its development is the inequality of Electoral votes from small states and large states. An example would be in the 1988 election, the combined voting age population of 3,119,000 of the seven least populous jurisdictions of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming carried the same voting strength in the...

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