The Electoral College And Proposed Reform Policies

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The Electoral College And Proposed Reform Policies Essay, Research Paper The Electoral College and Proposed Reform Policies Receiving 300,000 more votes than his best opponent, Candidate A was clearly the favorite among the eight million citizens who placed their vote. Much to his and the rest of the country s surprise, however, he was not elected due to a legal ramification that instead awarded the office to Candidate B. Does this sound like a fable taking place in a non-Democratic, unorganized country? In fact, the above scenario was the United States Presidential election of 1876 between Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, Candidate A, and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, Candidate B. Thanks to a confusing and rarely publicly understood Constitutional system known as the Electoral

College, United States citizens can still be supremely governed by leaders not chosen by the majority. The founding fathers of our nation met in Philadelphia on May 25th, 1787 for the Constitutional Convention. On August 31st a committee of eleven persons was formed to resolve disputes between the large and small states regarding house legislatures and executive voting methods. Two major methods of electing the president were being debated at the Convention, congressional elections and direct voting. It was initially assumed that the best system was congressional elections by congressmen elected by direct popular vote. These individuals would then represent the people by electing the president and vice president themselves. Issues arose that included a possible feeling of

obligation from presidents to not veto bills that were being pushed by a backing Senate (Best, 9), unreliable assessments of the citizen s desires by Congress (Longley, R.), and elections that better reflected the opinions and political agendas of the members of Congress than the actual will of the people (Longley, R.). The opposing executive voting plan was the direct vote system, backed primarily at the Convention by James Madison, James Wilson, and Governor Morris. This was the only true form of voting democracy because it provided for presidents to be elected solely on the popular vote and would most accurately reflect the views on the people. Unfortunately, many representatives were against this method of election. Reasons such as distrust in American voters to intelligently

select the best candidate, the fear of a consolidation of too much power and influence in one person (Longley and Braun, 27), and a loss of relative influence from the South due to non-voting slaves were all voiced by many of the delegates (Longley and Pierce, 23). On September 7th, 1787 the committee adopted the current Electoral College in Article II of the Constitution. It calls for each state receiving the same number of electors as they retain in Congress, providing for a minimum of three per state (at least one from the House of Representatives and one for each of the state s two Senators). Because state population decides House of Representational seats, larger states receive more electors and thus more electoral college votes. Each elector can give one vote towards the

270 of 538 possible votes required to elect the president. All of a state s electoral votes are awarded to the winner of their popular vote, regardless of the margin of victory. In the event that no national majority is reached, it was initially established that the Senate chooses from the top two candidates with a quorum of two-thirds of the Senators and requiring a majority vote (MacBride, 12). The 12th Amendment later redefined this condition to be resolved by a House of Representative vote that is won by a simple majority in which each state receives one vote for the combined majority of their representatives. Individual states decide how to select their electoral college electors, but the most popular method used by forty eight states is the general ticket system. Under this