Errors of the Electoral College

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Supposedly in a democracy everyone’s vote should count equipollently, but the method that the U.S. uses to elect its president, the Electoral College, infringed this principle by ascertaining that some people’s votes are greaters than others. The Election of these two officers, the president and vice president, is determined by a group of electors. This was established in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution. The Electoral College represented a compromise among the progenitors of the U.S. about one of the most plaging questions they faced: how to elect the commander in chief . The Constitutional Convention considered more than 15 different including plans for election by Congress or one of its houses, by sundry state officials, by electors, or by direct popular vote. The Electoral College has a rich and complex history, but has time progress on, lots of problems starts to arise because it’s an outdated system that was used to accommodate the people 1700s. Now in the twenty first century, it’s time for change and to realize the errors the Electoral College.

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The Electoral College was engendered for two reasons. The first purpose was to engender a buffer between population and the selection of a President. The second as a component of the structure of the regime that gave extra power to the more minuscule states.The first reason that the progenitors engendered the Electoral College is hard to understand in today culture. The founding fathers were apprehension of direct election to the Presidency. They feared a tyrant could manipulate public opinion and come to puissance. Hamilton indicted in the Federalist Papers: It was equally desirable, that the immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.

The second reason was for the electoral college to additionally be part of compromises made at the convention to slake the diminutive states. Under the system of the Electoral College each state had the same number of electoral votes as they have representative in Congress, thus no state could have less than 3. According to the History, Art, Archives Of The United States House Of Representatives (H.A.A.U.S.H.R.) The result of this system is that in this election the state of Wyoming cast about 210,000 votes, and thus each elector represented 70,000 votes, while in California approximately 9,700,000 votes were cast for 54 votes, thus representing 179,000 votes per electorate. Conspicuously this engenders an inequitable advantage to voters in the minuscule states whose votes genuinely count more than those people living in medium and astronomically immense states.

The Electoral College was engendered by the framers of the U.S. Constitution as a compromise for the presidential election process. At the time, some politicians believed a pristinely popular election was too temerarious and would give an exorbitant amount of voting power to highly populated areas in which people were acclimated with a presidential candidate. Others remonstrated to the possibility of letting Congress select the president, as some suggested.

The Constitution gave each state a number of electors equal to the amalgamated total of its membership in the Senate (two to each state, the senatorial electors) and its delegation in the House of Representatives (currently ranging from one to 52 Members). The electors are culled by the states in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct (U.S. Constitution, Article II, section 1).

One aspect of the electoral system that is not mandated in the constitution is the fact that the triumpher takes all the votes in the state. There it makes no difference if you win a state by 50.1% or by 80% of the vote you receive the same number of electoral votes. This can be a recipe for one individual to win some states by immensely colossal pluralities and lose others by diminutive number of votes, and thus this is a facile scenario for one candidate winning the popular vote while another winning the electoral vote. This triumpher take all methods utilized in picking electors has been decided by the states themselves. This trend took place over the course of the 19th century.

The Elector

The elector plays the most important in the election of the president. The Constitutionr’s Article II, Section 1 spells out the rudimental Electoral College rules. A majority of electors is needed to elect a President; members of Congress or people holding a United States office cant be electors; electors cant pick two presidential candidates from their own state, and Congress determines when the electors meet within their states (or in the federal district). The total number of Electoral College members equals the number of people in Congress and three supplemental electors from the District of Columbia.

The list of the electors, or the slate of electors, within a state customarily doesnt appear on the election ballot. States have different rules for when official slates are submitted to election officials. Each political party decides how to submit its slate of electors, at the request of its presidential candidate. The state decides when that slate needs to be submitted.

While they may be well-kenned persons in their states, electors generally receive little apperception as such. In most states, the denominations of individual elector-candidates do not appear anywhere on the ballot; instead only those of the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the parties or other groups that nominated the elector-candidates appear. In some states, the presidential and vice-presidential nominees denominations are preceded on the ballot by the words electors for. The customary anonymity of presidential electors is such that electoral votes are commonly referred to as having been awarded to the winning candidates, as if no human beings were involved in the process.

There is a serious problem, that there is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their states .Some states, however, require Electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories; Electors bound by state law and those bound by pledges to political parties. Notwithstanding the tradition that electors are bound to vote for the candidates of the party that nominated them, individual electors have sometimes broken their commitment, voting for a different candidate or for candidates other than those to whom they were pledged; they are kenned as faithless or unfaithful electors. This phenomenon, generally referred to as faithless or unfaithful electors, also derives directly from the Constitution, which in the Twelfth Amendment, instructs electors to vote by ballot for President and Vice President. While tradition that electors reflect the popular vote exerts a strong influence, there is no constitutional requirement that they vote for the candidates to whom they are pledged. Although 24 states seek to preclude perfidious electors by a variety of methods, including pledges and the threat of fines or malefactor action, most constitutional philomaths, like Cass Sunstein and Michael McConnell, believe that once electors have been chosen, they remain constitutionally free agents, able to vote for any candidate who meets the requirements for President and Vice President.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require that Electors be consummately free to act as they optate and consequently, political parties may extract pledges from electors to vote for the parties’ nominees. Some state laws provide that s-called “faithless Electors” may be subject to fines or may be disqualified for casting an invalid vote and be superseded by a supersession elector. According to the National Archives and Record Administration, twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia now have laws that bind electors to the candidate that wins their state. For example, in Utah an elector is considered to have resigned and their vote not recorded if they vote for a candidate not nominated by the same political party of which the elector is a member. Some states merely require electors sign a pledge that they will cast their vote for the candidate that wins their state, but some states go further and impose civil or criminal penalties. In New Mexico, a Faithless Elector is subject to a fourth degree felony charge. But there are also strong arguments that binding electors to vote in a certain way is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has not categorically ruled on the question of whether pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution. No Elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.

The Case Against The Electoral College

There is hardly anything in the Constitution harder to explain, or easier to misunderstand, than the Electoral College. The Electoral Colleger’s proponents argue that it keeps small states in the conversation and ensures a president has cross-regional support. These are certainly desirable goals, but do they withstand close examination? While there is some merit to the claim that the Electoral College requires presidential candidates to have cross-regional support, the reality is less black and white. Itr’s true that under the Electoral College, a presidential candidate cannot win with the support of just the Northeast or the South. But mathematically, neither can they win under a system based solely on the popular vote. Some also argue that the Electoral College allows small states like New Hampshire to gain critical importance in the electoral process, but this ignores the fact that under the current system, the other 12 smallest states are entirely ignored. Some argue that the Electoral College should be dumped as a useless relic of 18th-century white-gentry privilege. A month after the 2016 election, and on the day the members of the Electoral College met to cast their official votes, the New York Times editorial board published a scathing attack of this sort, calling the Electoral College an “antiquated mechanism” that “overwhelming majorities” of Americans would prefer to eliminate in favor of a direct, national popular vote.

The often forgotten territories, Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands, get no votes from the Electoral College. This is because they aren’t states and they don’t have a special constitutional amendment to recognize them. Which is a bit odd considering they’re part of the United States and everyone who lives there as a citizen. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services states: Puerto Rico is also a commonwealth of the United States, meaning the territory has a political union with the United States. Individuals born in Puerto Rico are considered citizens of the United States. The sans would apply to other island expect the American Sonomas. For most practical purpose, they’re just like D.C. There are about 4.4 million people who lives in the territories according to the World Population Review. That might not sound like a lot ,but it’s more than the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska and Delaware combined. Yet, still no votes from the electoral college. The whole situation with territories is extra strange when you consider the final group of Americans who don’t live in the states. Americans who live abroad in a foreign country, can usually send a postal vote to the last state that you reside it in, but if you move within the United States to one of those territories; you lose your right to vote for president as long as you live there.

The Electoral College system is undemocratic in a second respect it weights the votes of some Americans more than those of others. Since each state, regardless of population, has at least three electoral votes (two for its Senate seats and at least one for each representative), the smallest states have a higher ratio for electors to population than do larger states according to the National Archives and Records Administration. As the composition of the electoral college is partially based on state representation in Congress, some maintain it is inconsistent with the one person, one vote principle. The Constitutional Convention agreed on a compromise plan whereby less populous states were assured of a minimum of three electoral votes, based on two Senators and one Representative, regardless of state population. Since electoral college delegations are equal to the combined total of each stater’s Senate and House delegation, its composition is arguably weighted in favor of the small, or less populous, states. The two senatorial or at large electors to which each state is entitled are said to confer on them an advantage over more populous states, because voters in the less populous ones cast more electoral votes per voter.

Critics also express concern about the lack of accountability of electors. Most electors are relatively anonymous individuals, not the eminent persons the founders envisioned. Although chosen by state parties to support particular candidates, on occasions they have not done so, thereby creating concern about the irresponsible elector .It might seem counterintuitive that rational voters can create such bad incentives. But consider, as an example, an incumbent who must decide whether to prioritize policy aimed at boosting the economy in the short run, or policy aimed at a long-run problem like global warming. Assume that work on global warming has greater impact on the voters welfare. If the performance of the economy is more informative about the incumbentr’s competence or about her ideology, voters will nonetheless respond more to the economy. After all, voters can only affect what happens in the future, so rationality demands that the voter select the best candidate going forward


Throughout modern politics, we have seen presidential candidates fail to grasp the electoral votes, despite having the popular vote. Most recently, we have seen this with Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election cycle against Donald Trump, but as many know, this is not the only time that the most popular candidate did not receive the nomination. The Electoral College is failing us. If you have a voting system that allows losers to win, you shouldn’t be surprised when they do. Not once, not twice but four times the most votes from the people actually lost because of the Electoral College. Would you tolerate a sport where by quirk of the rules, there was a 7% chance of the loser winning? Highly unlikely. Given how much more important electing the president of the U.S. is, that is rather a dangerously high percentage of the time to get it wrong.

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Errors Of The Electoral College. (2019, Jun 10). Retrieved December 1, 2022 , from

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