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The Electoral College Essay

2395 words - 10 pages

Is it possible for a presidential candidate to receive the most popular votes and still not be elected president? Many Americans are shocked to discover that the answer to this question is yes. The Founding Fathers were not the strong advocates of democratic rule that the average American has been led to believe. For proof of this one needs to look no further than Article II of the United States Constitution. In this Article one will find the details of the Electoral College system, a system which denies the power to elect the president to the American people. (The Constitution) To ensure a more complete democracy and a true democratic election of the president, the Electoral College should be abolished in order to allow popular vote to be the method by which the president is elected.
Although not common knowledge among the American electorate, presidential elections in the United States are indirect popular elections. Even though voters cast their ballots for the presidential candidate, they are really voting for a group of electors who pledge to vote for a particular candidate. (Project Vote Smart) This group known as the Electoral College is made up of 538 citizens who are responsible for voting on behalf of their states and it is this group that actually chooses the president. The number of electoral votes is based on the number of U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives found in each state. (Electoral College) The presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes in a state receives all that state’s Electoral College votes. In order to be elected the presidential candidate must receive a majority of the 538 votes or 270 electoral votes. (Project Vote Smart)
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On the surface this might appear to be an example of democracy in action but on closer examination it becomes apparent that this system does not meet the true definition of majority rule since presidents are not directly elected by the American people. They are elected by 270 citizens and a system which on several occasions has thwarted the will of the American people. Three times in American history the presidential candidate with the majority of the popular vote
has been denied the White House. In 1876 Samuel J. Tilden defeated Rutherford B. Hayes by 264,292 votes but yet Hayes became the nineteenth president of the United States. In 1888 Grover Cleveland defeated Benjamin Harrison by 95,713 votes yet Harrison became the twenty- third president of the United States. Finally in the 2000 presidential election many Americans were baffled when George W, Bush with more than half a million less popular votes defeated Al Gore. (Kelly 2)
Many suspected some type of deception and demanded an investigation. However, the politically well informed needed no investigation. They were already familiar with the deception. This was not the first time the American people had been deceived. The American people have been deceived every time they have cast a vote in a...

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