The U.S. Constitution has defined the a system called the Electoral College to elect the President rather than direct election by popular vote. There have been some elections where the candidate receiving the most popular vote was not elected president because of the way the Electoral College system works. Some groups have called for abolishing the Electoral College and for direct election of the President.
The Electoral College is Obsolete
- The Electoral College allows for the un-fair possibility of electing a President who did not receive more votes than an opposition candidate. This situation disenfranchises the voters who supported the opposition candidate.
- We are at risk from a "faithless elector" who is pledged to vote for his party's candidate but instead votes for another candidate. In a close election, an Elector could alter the outcome of an election.
- The Electoral College system has a tendency to discourage voter turnout because a state only has so many Electoral votes regardless of how many citizens actually voted.
- The distribution of Electoral votes tends to over-represent people in rural states. For example, an Elector from Wyoming represents 164,594 persons whereas an Elector from California represents 615,848 persons.
- The Electoral College system's winner-take-all mechanism does not reflect the national will. It discourages third party or independent candidates and thereby tends to restrict the choices available to the electorate.
Return to Home Page
The Electoral College Has Served Us Well
- It contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president. No one region contains all the electoral votes to elect a President.
- The "Winner-Take-All" part of the Electoral College, enhances the status of of minority groups because a group may hold swing votes in a particular state.
- The Electoral College system has contributed to the political stability by encouraging a two-party system. It forces political coalitions to occur within the political parties rather than within the government.
- The Electoral College system also maintains a federal system of government and representation focused on the states rather than on the the national government.
- If the Electoral College was eliminated because peoples votes were not treated equally, then the U.S. Senate logically should also be abolished because the Senators from small states have a disproportionate amount of power in relation to their state's population.
- In all the years "faithless electors" have never changed the outcome of an election. However, if the problem of "faithless electors" is viewed as a serious problem, then a constitutional amendment could be crafted to replace the individual electors with a purely mathematical process.