Sunday, February 8, 2009

Abolish the Electoral College
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There needs to be a policy proposal to abandon the Electoral College and substitute it with direct popular vote for the election of the President of the United States. The Electoral College, though it is a provision of the Constitution, is a significant issue in United States public policy because it greatly affects the public in a negative way. The Untied States Government should have learned from their wonderful decision to abandon the method for electing senators and substitute it for direct election in the 17th Amendment. The system has been working for almost a hundred years now and there have not been any major disputes about the fairness in a senatorial election. A Presidential election, however, is different. Presidential elections are full disputes, favoritism, and unconstitutional guidelines.
The first major problem with the Electoral College is that electors, not the people of the nation, elect the President. I understand that back in 1783, the people of this country were not intelligent and well informed on politics and were too far away from the government to understand what was going on or even to have the slightest impact on how it operated, but the status of the country today is the furthest thing from how it was in 1783. Today, the majority of the population can simply turn on a news channel or go onto the internet to find daily updates about what is going on in the government. Also, the Government is a major subject that is taught at schools and universities, therefore, the majority of the population is informed on how it operates and should have a say in who is the leader of their country. The need for electors to make smart and educated decisions on behalf of the inferior public is no longer necessary. Every person has knowledge of the government and an opinion, and their opinions should be valued, not disregarded.
The second major problem with the Electoral College is that the Electors are not legally bound in their vote. They are elected as members who will vote for their party, usually party loyalists and campaign donors, but they are not legally obliged to do so. The people of this country vote for the party they want to win, and the electors are supposed to represent that vote, but if they chose, could abandon that trust and vote for whomever they please. This leaves the elector process open to corruption, since an elector can sell his vote for money or political favors such as backing a policy issue they are in favor of. There is nothing democratic about an unfaithful elector and such a provision open to so much manipulation should not be legal.
The next major problem with the Electoral College system is it is set up in such a way that the national popular vote winner can lose the election. This is possible because the system disregards all the votes of the losing candidates in a state. If 2,000,000 people voted for Obama in New Jersey and 1,990,000 voted for McCain, all the people who voted for McCain’s voted do not count. If there was a third party candidate and they received 50,000 votes, then more people voted for someone other than Obama, yet he would win the Electoral Votes for the state. This is a direct violation of the principle of one person, one vote, because millions of votes do not even matter. One person, one vote is also violated under the system because it gives a person in Wyoming more of an influence on an electoral vote than a person in California. Wyoming has around 160,000 people for each electoral vote and California has around 650,000 people for each electoral vote, so a vote from Wyoming has a greater value than a vote from Texas. This is also an extremely undemocratic guideline of the Electoral College system.
This process also sets up the flaw of state bias in a campaign. It makes the candidates focus on winning states, not votes. For a great deal of states, it is already assumed which candidate is going to win so candidates only spend their money in the battleground states and ignore around half of the country. A Republican will not win California and a Democrat will not win Kansas, so those states are practically ignored. The candidates care more about the votes of people in Pennsylvania than Texas and that is unfair to the people in those states.
Another major problem with the Electoral College is the fact that it can end in a dead lock. When there are 300,000,000 people in a country, there should not be a tie in an election, that is the first problem. The second problem is if there is a dead lock, the House of Representatives than votes for the president, making every vote from the public obsolete. The Contingent election in the House favors small states over large states. Each representative from their state votes and each state is allocated one vote. This means that the one House member of Wyoming gets to vote for the president and the 53 House members from California all have to agree and come up with ne vote amongst all of them. This guideline is probably the most undemocratic provision of the Electoral College.
With so many flaws and no significant strengths, he Government needs to propose the policy change of the Electoral College system to a direct election of the president. Direct election will eliminate every flaw the Electoral College has. There would be no deadlock in an election, therefore there would be no contingent elections. The national popular vote winner would always be the winner of the election and represent the majority vote of the people of this country. If it was a direct election, every vote from every person would count just as equally which would make each state just as important as all the others. There would be no need for electors and thus, there would be no problem with faithless electors. Direct election solves all of the election problems and makes every election as fair as possible. The sooner we adopt direct election for the President of the United States, the sooner we will be to becoming a true democracy.

1 comment:

  1. The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The Constitution gives every state the power to allocate its electoral votes for president, as well as to change state law on how those votes are awarded.

    The bill is currently endorsed by 1,246 state legislators — 460 sponsors (in 48 states) and an additional 786 legislators who have cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

    The National Popular Vote bill has been endorsed by the New York Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, Miami Herald, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Sacramento Bee, The Tennessean, Fayetteville Observer, Anderson Herald Bulletin, Wichita Falls Times, The Columbian, and other newspapers. The bill has been endorsed by Common Cause, Fair Vote, and numerous other organizations.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). The recent Washington Post, Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University poll shows 72% support for direct nationwide election of the President. This national result is similar to recent polls in Arkansas (80%), California (70%), Colorado (68%), Connecticut (73%), Delaware (75%), Kentucky (80%), Maine (71%), Massachusetts (73%), Michigan (73%), Mississippi (77%), Missouri (70%), New Hampshire (69%), Nebraska (74%), Nevada (72%), New Mexico (76%), New York (79%), North Carolina (74%), Ohio (70%), Pennsylvania (78%), Rhode Island (74%), Vermont (75%), Virginia (74%), Washington (77%), and Wisconsin (71%).

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 22 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes — 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.