Description: This paper discusses the many shortcomings of the Electoral College,
and posits possible alternative electoral processes which likely be more
Time for Reform? Considering the failures of the Electoral College
A common misconception among American is that when they vote they elect the
President. The truth is not nearly this simple. What in fact happens when a
person votes is that there vote goes for an Elector. This Elector (who is
selected by the respective state in which a vote is cast) casts ballots for two
individuals, the President and the Vice-President. Each state has the same
number of electors as there are Senate and House of Representative members for
that State. When the voting has stopped the candidate who receives the majority
of the Electoral votes for a state receives all the electoral votes for that
state. All the votes are transmitted to Washington, D.C. for tallying, and the
candidate with the majority of the electoral votes wins the presidency. If no
candidate receives a majority of the vote, the responsibility of selecting the
next President falls upon the House of Representatives. This elaborate system of
Presidential selection is thought by many to be an 18th century anachronism
(Hoxie p. 717), what it is in fact is the product of a 200 year old debate over
who should select the President and why.
In 1787, the Framers in their infinite wisdom, saw the need to respect the
principles of both Federalists and States Righters (republicans) (Hoxie p. 717).
Summarily a compromise was struck between those who felt Congress should select
the President and those who felt the states should have a say. In 1788 the
Electoral College was indoctrinated and placed into operation. The College was
to allow people a say in who lead them, but was also to protect against the
general public's ignorance of politics. Why the fear of the peoples ignorance of
politics? It was... [continues]
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