Blue Prints

Electoral College must be abolished or reformed

Richard Nakatsuka, Features Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Richard Nakatsuka
Features Editor

Arguably the most iconic hallmark of the United States is our commitment to the ideal of democracy. As a country, we pride ourselves on being the worldwide advocates of representation and freedom. We hold strong to our beliefs that a government should serve its people, and not the other way around. It’s ironic, then, that the election process in this country that decides who becomes president is not actually under the control of the people.
Here’s some background; the United States uses an Electoral College system to elect the president, which originates from the Constitution itself. Establishing an Electoral College was a compromise between a popular vote and a vote by congress to decide the presidency.
The Electoral College is composed of people called electors, who each cast one vote for president and one vote for vice-president. Each state’s number of electoral votes is equal to its number of senators and representatives combined.
The Electoral College may have worked for most elections, but it is increasingly becoming unrepresentative of the votes of the American public. The college has defied the popular vote only four times. These were in 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016, and half of these times the Electoral College has voted against the wishes of the people have been in the 21st century.
There’s a fundamental issue when the popular vote does not align with the results of an election. In order for a democracy to function, the government must be reflective of the wishes of the people. We cannot call ourselves a democracy if the results of our elections do not reflect the results of our elections.
It’s time for the Electoral College to be dissolved. It’s an obsolete institution from a time when the sociopolitical landscape of America was very different.
Among other problems that plague the system, one is the issue of misrepresentation. Votes in states with larger populations are worth less of an electoral vote than those in states with smaller populations. Take the states of California and Wyoming. California has a population of 29.65 million and 55 electoral votes. Wyoming has a voting population of 445,830 and has just 3

Photo courtesy of www.nytimes.com
This graphic shows each state resized proportional to the influence of the individual voters who live there. The black numbers represent the amount of electoral votes a state has, and the white numbers represent how many voters a given delegate in a single state represent.

electoral votes. On the surface, this seems fine. However, this means that one electoral vote in California is equal to about 539,000 individual votes. Comparatively, in Wyoming, one electoral vote is roughly equal to 149,000 individual votes.
The consequence of this population effect is that a vote in a largely populated state, such as California or Texas, is essentially worth less than a vote in a less populated state. The Electoral College system undervalues votes of states with more people.
Furthermore, all votes in the Electoral College are cast on a “winner takes all” basis except for those from Maine and Nebraska. This discounts anyone in the state who votes for the losing candidate and nullifies their vote. The Electoral College creates a system in which the votes of people in certain states are chronically undervalued or underrepresented.
Lastly, but potentially most importantly, the Electoral College creates a general disenfranchisement within states that are not considered to be contested territory. Every election cycle, politicians spend the most time, money, and effort trying to win over so called “swing states” in order to secure more electoral votes. This however creates an atmosphere in which a majority of the states are largely or entirely ignored throughout almost all of an election cycle.
The solution is simple; it’s time for the United States to move to a system of direct elections. A voting system in which the popular vote is the deciding factor will solve most, if not all, of the issues presented by the Electoral College. A popular vote system ensures that everyone’s vote is counted equally and that no votes are wasted or nullified. A popular vote decision could also allow politicians to spend their time and efforts wherever they want, since all votes will count the same anyways.
It’s time for the United States to get rid of the obsolete Electoral College in favor of a direct popular vote for the presidency.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
The student news site of Middletown High School
Electoral College must be abolished or reformed