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The Electoral College Essay

1010 words - 4 pages

Every four years, on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November, millions of U.S. citizens go to local voting booths to elect, among other officials, the next president and vice president of the United States of America (The National Archives and Records Administration 1996). Their votes will be recorded and counted, and winners will be declared. However, the results of the popular vote are not guaranteed to stand because the Electoral College has not cast its vote. The Electoral College is a controversial mechanism of presidential elections that was devised by the framers of the U.S. Constitution as a compromise between the election of a President by popular vote and by the Congress (The National Archives and Records Administration 1996). At the time, some politicians believed a purely popular election was too reckless, while others objected to giving Congress the power to select the president (Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia n.d.). The compromise was to set up an Electoral College system that allowed voters to vote for electors, who would then cast their votes for candidates, a system destined to change our beloved America forever.The Electoral College came to be at the Constitutional Convention in 1787. Our founding fathers wanted to create a system that consisted of checks and balances for two main reasons. Firstly, they wanted to give states with small populations more of an equal weight in the presidential election. Secondly, they didn't trust the common man to be able to make an informed decision on which candidate would make an honorably president. As a result, our founding fathers were apprehensive of the masses. They preferred the president to be chosen by those who were qualified, well informed, and had the ability to chose a president more efficiently than what they believed the average mob or man could.To elaborate, the Electoral College currently consists of five hundred and thirty eight electors. Each state gets a number of electors equal to its number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives plus one for each of its two U.S. Senators. The District of Columbia gets three electors. While state laws determine how electors are chosen, the political party committees within the states generally select them (The National Archives and Records Administration 1996). When election time approaches, registered voters vote to instruct the electors from their state to cast their votes for the same candidate as they voted for. For instance, if an individual votes for the Republican candidate, they are really voting for an elector who will be "pledged" to vote for the Republican candidate. The candidate who wins the popular vote in a state wins all the pledged votes of the state's electors (Wikipedia The Free Encyclopedia n.d.).Furthermore, a candidate is required to receive two hundred and seventy votes out of the five hundred and thirty eight to be elected. Since Electoral College representation is based on congressional...

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