The Electoral College System

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Presidency can be defined as the position of being president, or the length of time during which someone is president (Cambridge Dictionary, 1). The president of the United States is someone who can be viewed as having significant power over the people and ultimately the country. Presidential candidates start campaigning for office as early as two years before election day. This allows the American people to try and understand the views of said candidate. Comprehending the values of each candidate is important in the voting process. Society tends to vote for the candidate that they can relate to the most. However, when citizens vote for who they believe in and entrust their values in, the electoral college has the ability to elect the other presidential candidate for office. The popular vote can lean towards one candidate and the electoral college can elect the other into office. This system takes away societyr’s individual liberty to elect the president they see fit. The electoral college should be abolished or reformed to a more effective and accommodating method.

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“The Electoral College System”

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Founded in 1787 in the Constitutional Convention and ratified in 1804, the electoral college is a system put into place to elect the President and Vice President of the United States. During the Constitutional Convention, there were many methods proposed on how to elect Presidents. One of which was election by popular vote, and what we know today as the electoral college. Delegates feared that popular vote would make the office too powerful (Patterson, 354), by electing officials who were not deemed fit for office. Thus, they adopted the electoral college system. The first electoral vote system (Patterson, 354) consisted of electors picked by the states, with each state entitles to one elector for each member of Congress. However, after the 1828 election, Andrew Jackson set out to pass a constitutional amendment to abolish the electoral college.

While he was unsuccessful, Jackson did manage to convince the states to correlate the electoral votes to that of the popular vote. Jacksonr’s reform, which is still in effect today, allows the candidate who wins the state popular vote to receive the electoral votes. Today, most Americans are familiar with the basis of electing the next President; each state has an open election where thousands of citizens can cast their vote. Citizens then go to their designated voting poll and cast their vote for the next President and Vice president of the United States. The electoral college consists of 538 electors that all meet up in a designated location to cast the official votes for the next President and Vice President. Each state has a different amount of electoral votes these votes are based off of Senators, House of Representatives, and population. Each state is given a minimum of two votes from Senate and at least one from the House of Representatives (which ranges from 1-52 members). The electors have pledged their vote to the party that nominated them. They are morally expected to vote for the party that nominated them, however, it is not required. In unusual circumstances there have been times when electors go against their pledge and vote for the opposite party candidate. This rarely occurs as most electors stay true to their state and vote the way they pledged to. While it is uncommon for electors to change votes, it is not uncommon that the majority of uneducated voters have no idea that is what they are voting for. What a lot of (young) voters do not realize is that they are not actually voting for President, but are instead voting for specific electors to vote on their behalf. As more and more people start to realize what exactly the Electoral College does, they are also starting to realize it is not a system they want in their country. The Electoral College system served its purpose back in the 19th century, but as America revolutionizes so should our government.

When deciding between reforming the Electoral College or abolishing it altogether, it did not take me long when I looked at the reformation acts that have been proposed. The abolishment of the Electoral College seemed socially more effective. Originally, the Electoral College system was put into place when only white, male landowners could vote. These men wanted full control over who was elected into office. Abolishing the Electoral College is the most effective plan for our society in our day and age. The main fundamental concern with the Electoral College is the fear the electoral vote with contradict that of the popular vote. The most recent example of this is the 2016 election. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the two candidates from both the Republican and Democratic parties.

While Clinton won the popular vote, Trump won presidency solely because of the Electoral College. This is when the debate over the electoral college resurfaced once again. Society loses all sense of individuality when the Electoral College is involved. When the Electoral College is involved individual voters do not have an equal voice in designating the person who shall occupy the highest office within the power of the people. (Kallenbach, 1). People feel they do not have any say in Presidential elections when electors vote for them instead. America was founded to be the land of the free, so why are we not letting the citizens of the United States be free and choose the President they want? It all comes down to power and tradition.

Since the Electoral College has been in place since 1804, there is not a lot of enforcement to change it in anyway. However, what the government does not take into account is how rapidly the world is changing around us, and this system is no exception. By eliminating the Electoral College, there will be more of a voter participation because then every vote matters equally. Swing states also have an unequal amount of power in elections. Most candidates when they campaign only focus on major swing states like Ohio, Florida, and Michigan. That is because these states have a medium amount of electoral votes and are generally an even red and blue state. There is an excessive amount of pressure on these swing states for the whole election. Candidates rely on these states to win the overall election. This is unfair and shows unequal opportunity for each state. With elections solely based on the popular vote there will be equal opportunity for each state and individual. One argument to reforming the Electoral College would be to reform it using the District Plan. This plan, which is already used in Nebraska and Maine, breaks electoral votes up by district instead of statewide. While this gives out more votes and can allow candidates to earn larger amounts of electoral votes; it is essentially the same aspect as the Electoral College. When you break it down even if you win one district out of three and you get that vote, but the other party gets two votes and then another two votes from the statewide vote. In the end, it does not matter whether because it is the same concept as the Electoral College just with a larger amount of votes. In my opinion, all the ideas of reforming the Electoral College are not right for our country.

Society is always evolving for the better and sometimes it is hard to change old ways. The Electoral College is a system founded by the Founding Fathers of the United States. It is a difficult system to try and reform let alone abolish. Though, with the continuous changes in society it is inevitable that there will not be any changes in our constitutional platform. With the abolishment of the Electoral College system, it will be the first major step to uniformed equality and advancement in the United States of America.

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The Electoral College System. (2019, Jun 14). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from

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