Keeping Up With the Changing Times in Regards to the Electoral College

By Lexi Miller
     A note before proceeding: This entire article discusses the Electoral College but before moving forward, perhaps it would be beneficial to describe what the Electoral College is and how it plays a role in electing the President of the United States.
    On election day, everyone votes for who they think should be President. However, the popular vote does not determine the President. Each state is divided into congressional districts based on population. For example, California has significantly more than South Dakota. Each district votes and then whichever candidate wins the majority of the districts receives all the Electoral College votes from that state. California has fifty-five votes in the Electoral College. This is determined by how many representatives each state has in the House of Representatives, (in California’s case, 53) plus the two senators each state has. This means the minimum number of Electoral college votes a state can have is three. To win presidency, the candidate must receive 270 Electoral College votes. So while it is based on popular vote, there is an imbalance, especially within the bigger states because people tend to vote in a multitude of ways. 
     In the 2000 Presidential Election, the Electoral College failed us. Al Gore won the popular vote in the election, yet he lost in the Electoral College, and lost the election. This poses a question on the fairness of the Electoral College, but more than that, does it misrepresent the American people?
    In order to showcase this example, Maryland comes to mind. Maryland is a primarily Democratic state. So much so that seven out of the eight districts vote blue on Election Day. It could be argued that with our current system it is completely irrelevant if the Republicans do not vote. Due to the Electoral College, their vote will be canceled out and not count in the long run. In a country that has been as lucky America to have the right to vote, it appears absolutely preposterous that their voices are taken away on Election Day. 
   In addition, many votes appear to count for less than they do in other states. This causes many states to be skipped over in campaigning. For example, Florida, a notorious swing state (who actually changed the complete outcome of the 2000 election), receives a lot more campaigning than the Dakotas or states that are guaranteed votes for either party. This creates disproportional voting because some states votes are worth more than others. Big states like California, count for 55 votes for one candidate while Maryland has only 10 votes to give. The winner-take-all system creates an incredible amount of imbalance between voters. 
   Maine and Nebraska have a different system written in their state constitution. Instead of a winner-take-all system, voting is done district by district and the winner of each district gains a vote. The majority winner then gets the remaining two votes. This creates a fairer system because in places where there are only a few districts who vote a certain way, it gives them a voice. Keeping with tradition, this would not abolish the Electoral College but would rather amend what has already been created. Amendments should be issued to all of the states to mirror their voting towards Maine and Nebraska. 
   Many of those against this change argue that it goes against the Founding Fathers wishes for how the country would be run. After all, they created the winner-take-all system and many believe the country should be run exactly how the Constitution states. While the Constitution is a brilliant document that outlines our entire government, some portions, as to be expected, are out of date. For example, the Founding Fathers could not fathom the technology we have and therefore said the general public should not vote for senators and representatives because without the media coverage we have today, there would be no way to know who was running and the public could not educate themselves on the candidates. The Electoral College should not be abandoned but rather we need to work to amend it and keep it updated with the ever-changing times. 
    With the understanding that tradition is very important in American society, I believe it to be equally important to constantly work to improve how our government and society is run. Because of this, changing the Electoral College voting based on congressional districts would benefit the American people and give them a true say in the Democracy we worked so hard to create. All men (and women) are said to be created equal, and I think it’s time our votes be created equal too.

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