It is time to do away with the Electoral College

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By Blake Wood, Staff Writer

The system to decide the President of the United States was created over two hundred years ago. When the system was created, technology was nowhere near being advanced enough for the federal government to have a popular vote. In order to elect the President efficiently and democratically, the Electoral College was created. Each state is assigned a number of electoral votes based on population and the winner of the state receives all of that state’s votes. This system was logical early in American History, but it is no longer the most feasible democratic way of electing a president and diminishes the voice and influence of the American people.

The President is voted on today the same way it has been voted on throughout the history of the United States. Originally, a popular vote was impossible logistically and economically. The country was too spread out to hold a popular vote and didn’t have the time to gather all of the ballots and count them. Further, if the federal government decided to do this, it would have been very expensive. However, the most important factor in the government choosing the Electoral College system was that the founding fathers, particularly federalists, did not trust the American people to elect the president. They deliberately chose a less democratic system because the founding fathers believed that their own citizens were too incompetent to select the right President.

For many Americans, the Electoral College looks fine on the surface, but it is quite flawed. In 2000, Al Gore won more votes than George Bush in the election, yet Bush won the White House. There is no reason for the United States, the face of democracy in the world, to be using a voting system that can result in the candidate with less overall votes winning the election. Further, the Electoral College system weakens the voting power of citizens who don’t live in swing states. States like Texas have a strong republican majority that will carry the state so moderates who are open to both sides and democrats have no voice in the presidential election. Also, candidates rarely spend much money campaigning in non-swing states because those states’ votes are already secured. These two issues are in direct conflict with the democracy that Americans are supposed to have.

Ideally, the president is supposed to be the leader that the majority of the American citizens wanted. In order for that to happen, the United States needs to switch to a system decided by popular vote. It’s very simple, as the candidate with the most votes wins the election. It isn’t a complex system like the Electoral College that many Americans don’t understand. An election decided by popular vote is what a true democracy is supposed to be and it’s time for Americans to fight for a stronger political voice. To further this point, a Gallup poll has over 60% of Republicans, Democrats and Independents  supporting doing away with the Electoral College. This issue is bipartisan with a majority of both sides of the aisle agreeing with replacing an outdated and broken system. In a political climate where so little is agreed upon, the fact that abolishing the Electoral College receives a majority from both parties and independents speaks volumes.

In this new popular vote system, every vote will be equally important, as opposed to the Electoral College system. Candidates are far more interested in swing state voters in today’s system because those voters ultimately decide the election, but if the United States had a popular vote, candidates would be forced to work harder to appeal to citizens who live in states with a strong party majority. Further, more people would be exposed to the campaigning as states like California, Texas and New York currently see very little of the presidential candidates in the general election due to such strong party majorities. This would expand American democracy, increasing the political voice of more citizens and ensure that the country’s President is always who the majority want.

Democracy needs to evolve with the times. Tradition is not a valid reason for keeping something around, especially in government. The Electoral College is outdated and is no longer the best way to represent the American people. A popular vote system is a better option for the country and it’s time for the people to realize it.