The Past, Present, And Future Of The Electoral College

1775 words - 7 pages

In the United States, the Electoral College determines the victor of a national election. Each state has its own number of electoral votes, which is determined by state population. This system is a “winner takes all” system. Which means the candidate with 50 percent or more of the votes in an individual state gets all of that states electoral votes. The 2016 presidential election will have 538 electoral votes, this means that the election will be decided who is the first candidate to 270 votes. Some people have seen this system as outdated and unjust. Many are looking at a way to change the system and others would like to do away with the system
Understanding the factors that warranted the creation of the system is essential. When the constitution was being created, the framers wanted to avoid creating a strong executive branch. One idea the framers created was to have congress directly choose the president. However, the idea was rejected because some felt that making this choice would be too divisive and leave animosity in congress. Others felt that such a procedure would invite unseemly political bargaining, corruption, and perhaps even interference from foreign powers. An alternative reason why this idea was rejected is, “others felt that such an arrangement would upset the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government” (Kimberling 2). This idea was also rejected because many felt that it would ruin balance between the legislative and executive powers. A second idea for presidential elections was to have the president elected by the popular vote. The idea was discarded because the framers feared that the citizens would not have sufficient knowledge of candidate outside one’s state. The farmers also feared that this would give an advantage to states with large populations. A third idea was to have state legislators choose the president; however, this idea was scrapped believing that it would give the states too much power. Eventually, the framers chose to have the president indirectly elected by a college of electors, known as the Electoral College.
The continuation of the Electoral College is constantly debated. Some want to discontinue the system while others want keep it. There are several arguments used by those who want to continue the system. One argument by Electoral College Advocates is the Electoral College balances the power of the large and small states in elections. These advocates state that doing away with the Electoral College would give the states with larger populations too much power in the outcome of elections. The advocates feel that presidential candidates will spend their resources on the states with the largest amount of voters. These advocates also believe that the Electoral College protects minorities’ interests. Some believe that without the Electoral College candidates would spend their time and resources on the majority of nation because that is where most of the votes...

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