The Electoral College How Effective Is It

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The Electoral College: How Effective Is It? Essay, Research Paper The Electoral College: How Effective Is It? Our founding fathers wanted to devise a plan to elect the executive branch of the government without it being affected by partisan politics. In the beginning, they instituted and stated in Article 2, Section 1, of the Constitution, the method of selecting electors is delegated to the separate state legislatures, and the voting procedure to be followed by the electors is carefully defined (Encarta, History). Originally in the Constitution, the electors were to vote for the two most qualified persons without specification of presidential or vice-presidential candidates. The candidate with the most votes would be the president and the candidate with the least votes would

be the vice-president. After the election of 1800 there was a tie with the votes and the decision went to the House of Representatives. After a long struggle, they chose the president and vice-president, but not without adding the 12th Amendment. In 1804, Congress enacted and the States ratified the 12th Amendment, which allows for separate electoral votes for the president and vice-president. The 23rd Amendment was also adopted in 1961 allowing the District of Columbia 3 electoral votes, leaving the original electoral college procedure stated in the Constitution substantially the one in use today (Encarta, History). The Electoral College consists of 538 electors, one for each of the 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators, and 3 for the District of Columbia.

Each state’s allotment of electors is equal to the number of House members and Senators(2) each state has (NARA, par. 1). To win the election, 270 of the 538 votes, the majority, are needed. As stated in the Constitution, the electors cannot be a member of the Senate, House of Representative or a person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States (NARA, par. 6). The electors are appointed by statewide popular election, and the electors have a pledged vote to a certain candidate. It is possible to win the popular vote and not the electoral vote due to the winner-take-all system. The popular vote, the peoples vote, for each state, except Nebraska and Maine, is totaled up and the plurality winner gets the electoral votes for that state. Since the apportionment of

electoral votes is left up to the states, Nebraska and Maine exercise this freedom by allowing the number of electoral votes to be proportional to the popular vote. Nebraska and Maine’s electoral procedure makes a lot more sense to me, rather than the all or nothing system most states use today. In seeing the way the Electoral College works, I have a tough time supporting it. When the vote of the people is not directly the cause of a President’s election to office, I am confused with the democracy we live in. It is seen in the most recent election how an election is not based on what the majority of the people want, but yet on what the majority of the states’ electors want. The electors’ vote may be based on the popular vote, but obviously seeing the large margin in the

2000 election between the electoral vote and the popular vote, they are not so closely related. I believe the Electoral College should be abolished due to the fact that in democracy, where government is constructed under the consent of the governed, people, not electors of political parties should be the ones electing the President and Vice-President. There are many reasons why I believe the Electoral College is not an effective way for the American people to choose their president and vice-president and also some possible solutions to this problem. First, as I stated above, the direct correlation to each person’s vote and the vote that elects the presidential candidates is in fact very small. Each person’s vote goes toward a statewide total, which then appoints its electors