The Electoral College is the Wrong System for the Election


Julian Schenck

The Framers of the Constitution thought of a new way to determine the winner of the presidential election, a system which they named the Electoral College. The Electoral College gives each state’s majority winner all of the Electoral College votes allocated to that state, with the exception of Maine and Nebraska. This system differs from the Popular Vote theory, where the outcome of the election is essentially just decided by whoever has the most votes. Instead of the rational Popular Vote idea, the Electoral College has remained in place since the creation of the Constitution. There have been many issues with this Electoral College idea, such as the fact that it plays a role in decreasing voter turnout, and it also does not always show who is more deserving of the position of president based on the people’s choice.

Take the 2016 election as an example of the issues that exist with the Electoral College. Current President Donald Trump won the election due to the Electoral College, receiving more Electoral votes than his opponent, Hillary Clinton. He was able to win the “swing states” in the election, otherwise known as the states “not already determined to be won” due to past elections. The amount of swing states in each election is typically around 12, according to FiveThirtyEight. Think about that: 41 other US states were already considered entirely won by either party before the election even began. This factor certainly decreases voter turnout for the elections, since Democrats that are in Republican states, for example, know that their state election has a definite outcome, with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in the state taking control of the state’s electoral votes. If people live in non-swing states, and their party is the minority in that state, it is somewhat reasonable to think that their vote does not count, and they would be, in some ways, correct.

Final electoral college map 2016 Hillary Clinton Donald Trump - Business Insider

This is because no matter how many party minority voters exist in each state, their votes will have no impact in the dishing out of Electoral College votes from that state. A state can be very close like Michigan was in 2016 with Trump winning by 0.3% over Clinton, but that close state winner will still receive all of the Electoral votes toward their tally. However, in states where the race is not going to be very close, due to past elections and poll projections, there is seemingly no need to go out and vote if you belong to the party minority in your state.

There are only two states that do not hand out Electoral votes in the “winner take all” fashion. These two exceptions, Maine and Nebraska, allocate two of their votes to the majority winner, as well as one to each of the winners of each congressional district, rather than giving the statewide winner all of their Electoral votes. While this strategy is better than the others, it still does not encourage party minority voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote, since their district may definitely be going one way or the other.

Overall, voter turnout has certainly been impacted by how people feel as they go to cast their votes and the impact they feel like they will have in determining the outcome of the election. It also diminishes a huge majority of overall statewide minorities, as their votes really are not represented in the tally of Electoral votes. For these reasons, I believe that the Electoral College should be abolished, and replaced by the Popular Vote system, where everyone’s vote is better represented in the final outcome of the election.