You are on page 1of 6

Bryce Goodfellow

POLS 1100-400
August 5, 2015
The Electoral College is the way in which America votes in the President. It is
somewhat controversial although it has been in place since 1787 during the Constitutional
Convention. At that convention, and as stated in Article Two of the U.S. Constitution,
they formed the law of the Electoral College. The delegates assigned to this, determined
that the executive would be chosen by the states, with each sates total number of electors
equal to its number of representatives in Congress.. (McCollester, 183). Many believe
today that the Electoral College has too many downfalls and should be abolished.
However, many disagree with that notion. The Electoral College, while not perfect,
allows for balanced federalism, keeps the two-party system in tact, and encourages
candidates to focus on the entire nation.
The Electoral College currently comprises 538 Electors with each state having
equal electors to the number of its senators, which is two, and to the Representatives in
the Congress. This system favours small states in terms of population and reflects the
will of guaranteeing every state a voice in the election process. (Pavia, 436). America,
and the Constitution, prides itself in its checks and balances. The way the entire
government was formed was done so in a way that didnt give any one person or group
more power than someone else, President included. This is the reason that during the
Constitutional Convention the delegates chose to give the vote to the people as opposed
to congress. To maintain this balanced government, calls for such systems as the
bicameral legislature and the Electoral College. (McCollester, 184). While it is clear to

see that some states have much more electoral representation, such as California, it is still
directly related to their population. California has 55 Electoral Votes and Wyoming only
as 3 Electoral Votes and based on population they are not equal. (Bolinger, 180). In fact
this gives Wyoming more of an advantage. Looking strictly at the numbers it may seem
unfair, however, this helps Wyoming to have a voice because if it was just popular vote
than the candidates would not take the time to listen to Wyomings wants and needs.
Abolishing the Electoral College would remove the free and balanced nature of American
Our Founding Fathers never intended America to become a two-party system.
However, it has clearly formed into that and most of the time it is for the better. It may be
difficult to see that as we are seeing so much division within congress currently but
historically, it has been for the best. The Electoral College helps to keep the balance of
the two-party system in tact. McCollester stated that, While many would believe the
introduction of multiple parties would be a good outcome of Electoral College reform,
others would argue that the two-party system has given the United States a political
stability unrivaled in most democracies (184). If the Electoral College experienced
major reform there is a strong chance that votes would become so divided across too
many candidates that no one would be able to receive a true majority regardless. It would
open the door to too many candidates and to too much room for error in voting and
voting re-counts. Many argue for the Electoral College to be abolished, which would
require an amendment to the Constitution. However, the odds of that happening are slim.
Congress would have to vote to make that amendment; Congress benefits from the twoparty system; abolishing the Electoral College may diminish the two-part system. It just

doesnt add up. I see how this argument could be valid and sustained. However, most
political observers want to see the two-party system preserved (Jefferson-Jenkins, 179).
The benefits of the two-party system greatly outweigh the downfalls of the Electoral
Since the Electoral College was put into place in 1787 and Amended in 1804,
only 4 Presidents have been elected without receiving the popular vote. They occurred in
1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000. (Jefferson-Jenkins, 179). Yes, that is a clear gap in the
Electoral College system but to look at how many other years that did not happen is
astonishing. I would say, looking at the numbers, that the system has been
overwhelmingly successful. It has grown with the country and shown that it can stand the
test of time. Without the Electoral College, there stands a major risk of some states not
only not having as much representation but also not having the attention at all. The
Electoral College, require[s] that a candidate campaign and appeal to the entire nation,
not just to one faction or region (McCollester, 184). A candidate could just focus on a
certain kind of voter and region to get the majority and become President. To me, that
feels like misrepresentation. I would prefer a president who received votes from several
different voters and party supporters of different race, sex, region, and socioeconomic
status. Therefore, the Electoral College, does not diminish the equality of peoples votes;
instead, it provides safeguards against candidates only catering to the numbers. While
Utahs Vote still may seem little and it is likely that we will continue to be predominantly
a Blue state, there is always a chance for a candidate to win us over or at least increase
the support even if they wont receive the votes. Abolishing the Electoral College would
completely eliminate the voice of the little person.

There are several groups of people who understand that abolishing the Electoral
College is unlikely and therefore they have proposed several reforms to the current
system. Many have a problem with the winner-take-all system of the electors and this is
usually a reoccurring proposal of change. This is a problem that stems not from the
Electoral College but from the, formula used to convert votes into representatives.
(Pavia, 438). The winner-take-all system, in which all of a sates electoral votes go to the
winner of the popular vote, disenfranchises those who voted for other candidates in that
state. (Jefferson-Jenkins, 177). Maine and Nebraska are the two states who assign their
Electoral votes based on the congressional district votes. (Gringer, 185). However, the
switch to a district formula has shown, to be unsuitable since it would more than likely
magnify the shortcomings of the current system. The risk of electing a minority President
would rise. A major number of ballots could have no value after counting the votes. And,
the possibility of more biased outcomes would increase. (Pavia, 444). The other option,
as mentioned throughout, is to abolish the Elector College. This is highly unlikely as
Constitutional change is very difficult to produce and justify.
There hasnt been a good option to replace the Electoral College since its
institution in 1787 that would still keep the positive qualities and benefits in tact. Until
then, the Electoral College will stay put. Some states may have low voter turnout. Some
states may feel underrepresented. A President may be elected without the majority
popular vote. Its government and it isnt perfect but it keeps the checks and balances, it
keeps our systems in place and almost always the popular candidate wins the
Presidential race. This will be something that will be debated for years to come and the

grass is always greener on the other side. However, this side looks pretty good and we
have been watering it and tending to it for hundreds of years.

Works Cited
Bolinger, Benjamin. "Point: Abolishing The Electoral College." International Social
Science Review 82.3/4 (2007): 179-182. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 Aug.
Gringer, David. "Why The National Popular Vote Plan Is The Wrong Way To Abolish The
Electoral College." Columbia Law Review 108.1 (2008): 182-230. Academic
Search Premier. Web. 5 Aug. 2015.
Jefferson-Jenkins, Carolyn. "Who Should Elect The President? The Case Against The
Electoral College." National Civic Review 90.2 (2001): 173. Academic Search
Premier. Web. 5 Aug. 2015.
McCollester, Maria. "Counterpoint: Preserving The Electoral College." International
Social Science Review 82.3/4 (2007): 182-186. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5
Aug. 2015.
Pavia, Jose M. "On Introducing Proportionality In American Presidential Elections: An
Historical Analysis, 1828-2008." Political Quarterly 82.3 (2011): 435-447.
Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 Aug. 2015.