Time for Reform? Considering the Failures of the Electoral College
Description: This paper discusses the many shortcomings of the Electoral College, and posits possible alternative electoral processes which likely be more democratic. 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
Bibliography: 1 Bailey, Harry A. Jr., Shafritz, Jay M. The American Presidency, (California: Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1988) Chapter III 2 McGauhey, Elizabeth P., "Democracy at Risk," Policy Review, Winter 1993: 79-81 3 R. Gordon Hoxie, "Alexander Hamilton and the Electoral System Revisited," Presidential Studies Quarterly, v. 18 n. 4 p. 717-720 4 John F. McManus, "Let the Constitution Work," The New American, v. 8 n. 14 p. 19 5 William P. Hoar, "The Electoral College: How The Republic Chooses its President," New American, v. 8 n. 16 p. 23-28