Electoral College Debate

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Ever since [the 2000 election] in which George Bush prevailed by a mere 5 electoral votes, despite losing by one-half-million votes in the national popular vote, therer’s been criticism about whether America should keep or do away with the electoral college (Jahncke). This phenomenon happened again in the 2016 election, which intensified debate. Enthusiasts of the movement to abolish the electoral college claim that the electoral college is unnecessary and takes power away from the people.

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However, it would not be a wise move to eliminate the electoral college for two reasons: first, because the electoral college and popular vote typically agree so there is no discrepancy that takes power away from the American people; and second, because popular vote can misrepresent the interest of the nation due to voter fraud.

According to Red Jahncke, and opinion contributor for The Hill newspaper, this movement to rid the country of the electoral college argues that the College doesnt reflect one-man-one-vote. Instead the vote of each elector counts for thousands of people. Supporters of this idea argue that people should be able to choose their president directly rather than have a group of electors vote for them. They also point out that the founding fathers came up with the electoral college to prevent the people from making an uninformed decision about the leader of the nation. They claim that during this age, Americans can be informed about the candidates through the media and internet, so there is no longer a need to keep the general populace from voting. Although this is true, the benefits of keeping the electoral college outweigh the advantages of removing it when it comes to protection against voter dishonesty.
When the electoral college opposes the popular vote, people begin to doubt whether it should be the deciding factor for who wins the presidential election. However, this problem does not occur often. For example, the 2000 and 2016 presidential elections are only the fourth and fifth [presidential elections] where the winner lost the popular vote, out of 58 contests, so this is not a very common problem (Jahncke). If the electoral college constantly conflicted with the popular vote then it would be a real issue that should be addressed, but because it happens so infrequently, there is no need to change the law.

Another reason the popular vote should not be used to elect the president is because of its unreliability. There is much speculation that the polls have been and can be corrupted resulting in deceased citizens and illegal immigrants casting a vote. For example, some believe that in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton garnered more than 800,000 votes from non-citizens (Emery). This shows that the voting system is not completely reliable. President Trump even believes that he lost the popular vote in 2016 due to undocumented residents voting against him. Because of voter impersonation, there is no way to keep the popular vote completely fair. The nation is just too big to confirm that every vote is legal.

Although the electoral college prevents the people from directly determining the president, it is still the best way to elect the leader of the country. Until it disagrees with the popular vote, the electoral college causes no problems. When it does conflict with the direct vote from the people, there is question about whether it is the most optimal way of selecting the American leader. Fortunately, that does not occur often, so there is no great need to change the system. When the founding fathers confirmed an electoral college to vote on the president, they were trying to prevent people from making uniformed votes. Although that is not necessary today, the electoral college does protect against election fraud. Trying to keep the entire country from tricking the system is an unattainable goal. The electoral college results in a controlled environment where electors can honestly vote for a candidate. Using the popular vote could misrepresent the wishes of the nation; therefore, it would be wise to keep the electoral college.

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