When the framers created the U.S. Constitution, they created a body of people who would help elect the president and the vice president. The framers intended for this system to be an easy way to elect officials, as people at the time were not very informed. It was supposed to be a method that made elections a fair process with a clear winner.
This system is known as the Electoral College and is neither easy nor fair; it is merely an outdated concept that has no place in a country where the majority of citizens are informed about the candidates whom they are voting for.
Over 65 percent of adults in the U.S. believe that the presidency should be based on the popular vote, not an obsolete, winner-take-all system.
The way the Electoral College works is that each state is allotted a number of electors equal to the total number of senators and representatives per state. For example, Connecticut has five representatives and two senators. Therefore, Connecticut is allotted seven electoral votes. Then the electors choose the state’s candidate based on the popular vote. In every state, except for Maine and Nebraska, the system is winner-take-all, meaning that whichever candidate gets the majority of the popular votes gets all of the electoral college votes.
Upon first glance, this system does seem fair. However, it can be problematic.
The main problem with the winner-take-all system is that there are cases in which the results of the popular vote and the electoral college have not aligned. This scenario has occurred five times — in 1824, 1886, 1888, 2000 and 2016.
This scenario could happen if a state’s minority was quite significant. For example, if in Connecticut, 51 percent of votes went toward Candidate A and 49 percent of votes went toward Candidate B, all seven of Connecticut’s votes would go towards Candidate A, rather than the majority and minority being their own separate values that count towards the entire popular vote. When more of the minority votes from each state add up, the popular vote could reflect something very different than the electoral vote.
When students first register to vote, they are told the importance of voting for the president and vice president and that their votes count. How are we supposed to be motivated to vote if in all actuality, our votes technically don’t individually count toward the final vote?
The best way to proceed is for the Electoral College to just be abolished altogether. It would help create a fair, more modern system that elects people whom our citizens actually want.
Currently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is advocating for getting rid of the Electoral College.
“Every vote matters. And the way that we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren said in an NPR article.
The best course of action would be to call attention to the limitations of the Electoral College. This way, more people can see why it must be abolished and it can possibly be brought up in Congress.
Once this is done, a Constitutional Amendment must be created, as getting rid of the Electoral College changes something written in the Constitution. In order for the Amendment to be ratified, it needs a two-thirds majority in both the House of Representatives as well as the Senate, and then a three-fourths majority in the states.
Although it is a long process, abolishing the Electoral College is possible. If it is done, the election will be a much more fair process.
Anika Veeraraghav is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.