The Flawed Electoral College System
The Electoral College undermines the notion that every vote counts in the United States. One candidate loses; the other becomes the leader of the free world. How do we know which candidate is the victor? The Electoral College determines this. Whoever receives the most votes in a particular state wins the electoral votes for that state. The only exceptions are Maine and Nebraska. The size of the population determines the number of electoral votes for that state and each is represented by a person who casts the votes for that state. This system works when our fore fathers draw up the Constitution, but not in contemporary society. Congress creates amendments to the Constitution relatively frequently, but a 236 year old document determines something as important as the Presidency of the United States. Consider what has changed in this country since its founding. Early era Americans live in one of thirteen colonies. Plantation owners utilize slaves for their work. People not only vote on the President, but the Vice-President as well. As a result, the loser of the race usually becomes Vice-President, which also means they will be from different political parties. Only white men who own land “are created equal,” so that leaves the majority of the country unable to vote. The Constitution, as well as the country as a whole, begins because rich white men decide they prefer not paying taxes to England. Benefitting these wealthy Englishmen tremendously, the Electoral College is born. The United States takes many years to become what our forefathers originally declare in the Constitution. Reflecting these changes means overhauling the voting process. People say to me all the time, “My vote does not matter, so why bother?” In some states this is all too true. A Republican in Massachusetts never sees his candidate get the electoral votes. On the other hand, if you are a Democrat you might as well stay home because the majority of Massachusetts’ voters will do the work for you. Use that same logic in Mississippi, which has a Republican majority and a Democratic minority. Only Maine and Nebraska can split their electoral votes according to the percentage of popular votes each candidate obtains. Consequently, barring a boycott of Democratic voters in Massachusetts, Barack Obama will acquire the electoral in Massachusetts. Barring a boycott by Republicans in Mississippi, Mitt Romney will get those electoral votes. Having a competitive third party in the United States is virtually impossible as a result of this. We have independent voters in this country, as well as members of other parties, but with a winner take all system, how could a third party possibly grasp a majority? The Electoral College contributes to creating a two party government. A popular vote system makes room for another party to have a chance in making their voices heard. Although progress would be slow, there may come at a time when a third party because candidates know the must be on one side or another to get electoral votes. At least in recent history, states like Ohio and Florida, so-called battleground states, ultimately decide the election. With a candidate needing a majority of 270 electoral votes to win, these states become very important. Notice how no one ever hears about politicians campaigning in Connecticut or Oklahoma. These states are predominantly one party or the other, so their electoral votes are all but given to them. The swing states get more attention because they are the only ones where the electoral votes are up in the air, so those votes carry more weight. In a popular vote system every vote in every state is significant. The nostalgia of the Electoral College pales in comparison to every vote making a difference. In addition, these voters turn out in large numbers and are extremely well informed. In other states this system generates a level of apathy...
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