The Electoral College System example

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The Electoral College System

The Electoral College is a process designed by the founding fathers and placed into the constitution. Sidlow and Henschen explain the Electoral College as “a group of electors who are selected by the voters in each state to officially elect the president and vice president. The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of the state’s representatives in both chambers of Congress (19)”. Each state is responsible for how they choose their electors and have as many as they have members of Congress. Washington DC gets three electors. Currently, a candidate must be 270 elector votes to become president (Sidlow, Henschen 19).

In Favor of Abolishing the Electoral-College

Some people want to abolish the Electoral College because they believe it is not democratic. They also believe that each vote is not counted equally. Because a small state like Wyoming or Vermont, who have 3 electors each, get more votes per capita than a large state like California. California has a population over fifty times larger than Wyoming yet get just over 18 times as many electoral votes. So votes in Wyoming count three times as much as they do in California. Furthermore, they believe swing states get all the attention during campaigns. Candidates spend most of their time trying to get the votes of just a handful of states and the rest are ignored or rarely get attention. The same goes for the states solidly voting for one party or the other. George W Bush ignored California because that state always votes heavily for Democrats.

In Favor of Keeping the Electoral-College

People in favor of the Electoral College say more people will be ignored in a popular vote. Currently, candidates must advertise nationally to get votes. Advertisements go out over national and local television. It is the biggest expense in a campaign. With a popular vote, advertising would switch to only cities with large populations. The rest of the country would not hear what the candidates have to say. Also, swing states make up large and small states. So there are small states – Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire – that get a lot of attention during campaigns. In a popular vote system, they would all be ignored.

With an Electoral College, there is a certainty of the outcome. Only a few times in history have candidates not achieved the required number of electors but there is a plan for that. A tie is possible but very unlikely. The popular vote has a smaller chance of producing a tie but in a close race, candidates have a huge incentive to challenge votes and ask for recounts. As we saw in the 2000 election, that could take a very long time. A popular vote would also run the risk of run-off elections, extending the election season and causing chaos in every state. Holding elections is a costly affair. It …

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