Should the Government Still Use the Electoral College?


via. The New York Times

An example of the electoral college results for the presidential election.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton received more votes for president than Donald Trump. However, despite the majority, Donald Trump won the election due to the results from the electoral college. This upset many people who argued that more people wanted Clinton as president, yet Trump was inaugurated into office because of the electoral college voting system.

The founders of America wrote in the Constitution that in a presidential election, the system of the electoral college would be used. In each state, the candidate with the most popular votes would receive all of the votes of secondary voters called electors in a “winner takes all” system. The number of electors in a state depends on the state population and when a candidate wins a state, each elector usually casts one vote for the candidate the state chose. However, although rare, an elector can cast a vote against the popular vote of the state.

There are many different views about the usefulness of the electoral college. The main disagreement regarding the electoral college is about the role of smaller states in the election. People say that because the electoral college is used, seven states only having three votes in the 270 needed to become the president aren’t represented. Because of this, presidential candidates tend to pay more attention to the larger states but little or no regard to states with smaller populations, such as Delaware. In this way, the electoral college takes away power from smaller states.

However, this argument can go both ways. In response to Senator Elizabeth Warren saying we should get rid of the electoral college, Senator Marco Rubio said referring to the electoral college, “[It’s] a work of genius… [it]requires candidates for president to earn votes from various parts of [the] country. And it makes sure the interests of less populated areas aren’t ignored at the expense of densely populated areas.” Donald Trump also agreed, stating that he originally thought the popular vote was better but realized that if it weren’t for the electoral college, certain cities with large populations would rule America and middle America would be ignored completely. The electoral college makes it so that the entire country is the focus, not just large cities.

The main point of the electoral college is to bring the power away from the large cities to make sure that the entire country has a say. However, this system works too well. In two elections in the past five years, the Democratic candidate won the popular vote but the Republican candidate became president. The “winner takes all system” makes it so that certain states can be depended on to vote a certain way, winning all the votes from that state. 

As a result of the president getting all of the votes from one state, 35 certain states can be depended on by candidates. Because of this, the remaining fifteen states are truly the states that decide who the next president is. If we were to switch to popular votes, then each person’s vote would be represented, rather than the flawed system we have now that tosses away the votes of the losing party. 

The electoral college system is extremely flawed, casting away and ignoring millions of American voters. The system was put into use 232 years ago and shouldn’t still be in use now. People have argued about the electoral college in the past and will continue to until our government realizes the corruption of our system that discards and disvalues votes.