The Role of the Electoral College
Essay title: The Role of the Electoral College
The Role of the Electoral College
Many fears have been raised on the effectiveness of the Electoral College. Since its inception in 1788, over 700 proposals to reform and/or abolish the Electoral College have been introduced on the floors of Congress. Even so this system has endured as the only mechanism in producing a presidential victor for the last two hundred years.
The Electoral College is the system, implemented by the fore fathers so that the president is chosen, rather than electing a president by a tabulation of votes nation wide. The Electoral College uses a system of points (electoral votes) that are counted state by state. Political parties choose electors in each state to represent their presidential candidate. Voters are in essence not voting directly for the president, but voting for the electors of their state, who will in turn vote for the presidential candidate they represent.
The number of electors each state has is in direct relation to the number of Senators and House Representatives that it holds in Congress. Each state has two electoral votes for the number of senators and one vote for each member it holds in the House of Representatives. More populous states have a greater number of votes compared to smaller states, including the District of Columbia, which may have a minimum of three votes. For example, California and Texas have 55 and 34 electoral votes respectively, where as the Dakotas, Delaware, Montana, and several other lower population states have three votes apiece.
To win the presidency, a candidate must win an absolute majority, or half the votes plus one, which calculates to 270 electoral votes out of a total of 538 votes. With the exception of two states, the candidate with the majority of votes in the state wins all of the electoral votes of that state in a winner-take-all format. Nebraska and Maine employ the congressional district method, which may split the electoral votes of the state.
Due to the 2001 elections, many voters became aware that the Electoral College system may be a flawed. Opponents of the system have several strong arguments against the Electoral College. The main arguments are concerning the possibility of the House of Representatives electing the president, the disproportion of value of the votes, the possibility of depressing voter turnout, the winner-take-all system, the chance of the winner not winning the election, and the possibility of “faithless” electors. Nevertheless, proponents of the Electoral College state that it is a proven workable system, it discourages election fraud, and it preserves the two party system.
If the electoral voting process creates a tie, the Constitution provides for the vote to be moved to the House of Representatives. The House of Representatives will declare a winner by majority vote out of the top three candidates from the electoral outcome. This situation may cause some civil unrest among voters. Many citizens could be dissatisfied with the process that allows the government to choose the future president, further isolating the voters from the election of the president. This tie breaking scenario has only occurred twice in the House of Representatives (1800 and 1824). Both elections can symbolize either political inexperience or profound political divisions within the country.
The Electoral College receives criticism due to the amount of value that is placed on votes from state to state. Some challengers of the system believe that it is inequitable for every state to receive a minimal of three votes regardless of population size. Other criticism of the electoral system is that the system is unfair to the small and medium states due to the larger populated states such as Texas and California have so many electoral votes. Other critics are fearful of the mathematic scenario that can produce an election winner due to victories in 11 of the largest states. This scenario may cause a trend of candidates ignore the majority of states with a small amount of electoral votes. These points of view can be validated by various statistical manipulations.
Various detractor of the electoral system consider the electoral system to be biased and favor certain voters, however, bias is a part of every system of election and this must be taken into consideration. The simple majority rule, which many opponents suggest as a replacement for the current system, also is biased. The simple majority gives no representation to the voters who cast their ballots for the loser of the election. In this system, a possible 49.9% of voters may not have their voices heard. That hardly seems fair. Moreover, the current system requires a distribution of popular support for a candidate to be elected, where as populous, or large metropolitan areas would dominate over residents in rural