Electoral College is bad
- Established in 1788 by Article II of the US Constitution.
- It can only be abolished through a constitutional amendment.
- It has been controversial.
- It is an indirect vote.
- The cons outweigh the pros.
The Electoral College is the voting system used in the US, and it was established in 1788 through Article II of the US Constitution (McKinney, 2020). Therefore, it can only be abolished through a constitutional amendment with two-thirds in both houses of Congress approving the process. Voters elect their preferred presidential candidate, but the winner is decided by the Electoral College, which makes the process an indirect vote, hence controversial as explained below.
It is undemocratic
- Democracy requires citizens to directly vote for leaders.
- In the Electoral College, not every vote matters.
- President is elected by the Electoral College, not citizens.
- It ignores the will of the people.
- It has made voter turnout low.
In a democracy, citizens are supposed to choose their presidents directly, which is a representation of their will. However, under the Electoral College, representatives from different regions elect the president, which is not representative of the people’s will. Therefore, people are increasingly concerned about why they should participate in an election if their votes would not count in the end, and this aspect has created voter apathy.
It gives swing states too much power
- Swing states can win electoral votes easily.
- The actual popular votes do not count in these states.
- Campaigns are focused on these swing states.
- It is thus discriminatory to some extent.
- All Americans should get the same attention.
The two main political parties in the US – Republicans and Democrats, are assured that they will win the electoral votes in some states, such as California and Indiana for the Democrats and Republicans, respectively (Lienhardt, 2015). Therefore, the focus shifts to the swing states with presidential candidates focusing on these regions during campaigns. Therefore, the “red” and “blue” states do not get much attention, which is unfair.
It ignores the will of the majority
- This is against the spirit of democracy.
- A candidate with fewer popular votes can become the president.
- In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular votes.
- However, President Trump won the electoral votes.
- The will of the people is thus ignored.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the election’s popular votes by over a million votes (Agnew & Shin, 2020). However, Donald Trump won the electoral votes, and thus according to the Constitution, he became the president. This aspect contravenes the spirit of democracy where the will of the majority should be respected based on the numbers of their votes.
Reasons for the formation of the Electoral College are no longer relevant
- Founding fathers feared about uninformed population.
- Such people would make the wrong decisions.
- However, technological advancement allows the spread of information.
- Members of the Electoral College are elected by political parties.
- Other voting laws have been amended.
The founding fathers feared that an uninformed population would make the wrong choice when electing the president. However, the technological revolution of the 21st century allows people to be sufficiently informed about the political and voting process together with the involved candidates. Additionally, the founding father’s feared influence by sinister bias; however, the members of the Electoral College are elected along party lines and they are expected to vote based on party interests.
It entrenches the two-party system
- It keeps the two-party system strong.
- It thus silences other smaller parties.
- Voters not allied to the two parties might not vote.
- Increases voter apathy.
- Unhealthy for a democracy.
The Electoral College entrenches the culture of a two-party system. A candidate in a third party is likely to affect the chances of one of those in the dominant parties winning. Therefore, smaller parties are silenced in the process and they cannot grow. Voters allied with these smaller parties could decide not to vote because their candidates are unlikely to win. This trend increases voter apathy, which is retrogressive in any democratic voting process.
It creates a possibility of “faithless” voters
- People in “red” and “blue” states are expected to vote in a certain way.
- They should follow the voting pattern of their state.
- However, some are not bound to such rules.
- They could vote for the competing candidate.
- Such voters are branded “rogue” or “faithless.”
Voters are expected to vote according to the patterns of their states. For instance, those in California are expected to vote for the Democratic candidate. However, some individuals are not bound to such beliefs. They vote based on their choice, and they are thus branded “rogue” voters, which is a concern for the critics of this system.
Bottom line: Electoral College is bad
- People’s will should be respected.
- The US is a mature democracy.
- It should thus adopt the principles of a mature democracy.
- Voter apathy is a major problem.
- All Americans should be heard equally.
The bottom line is that the Electoral College system of voting is bad for democracy. The US is a mature democracy, and it should thus adopt voting laws in tandem with such status. Abolishing the Electoral College would significantly improve the chances of apathetic voters engaging in elections.
Agnew, J., & Shin, M. (2020). The counties that counted: Could 2020 repeat 2016 in the US Electoral College? The Forum, 17(4), 675-692.
Lienhardt, D. A. (2015). The Electoral College: An analysis of reform proposals through the lens of past presidential elections. The Wayne Law Review, 61, 439-457.
McKinney, M. (2020). Electoral College reform: Past, present, and future implications of the United States Electoral College system. Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. Web.