Electoral College Reform Essay, Research Paper
In order to increase the ease of creating and establishing a federal government with a central figure of office, the framers of the Constitution created the Electoral College. The College was formed to ease the process of electing a president every four years. The idea behind the Electoral College was that each state received a certain number of electoral votes according to its population, all of which went to the candidate who won that States popular vote. In this day and age, questions arise as to whether or not this is the best and most efficient method of electing this nations most powerful office.
There exists some possibilities, however unlikely, that the popular vote and the Electoral vote could conflict, and the candidate whom more people desire as president would lose out to a person who won more electoral college votes, but less popular. Consider this scenario. State A has 20 Electoral College votes. State B has 10. There are 100 people in State A and 50 people in State B. In State A 51 people vote for Joe and 49 for Jack. In State B, 1 person votes for Joe and 9 people vote for Jack. This all totals up to 51 popular votes for Joe and 58 for Jack, but 20 Electoral Votes for Joe and 10 for Jack. Joe wins the election, yet Jack had more people vote for him. This can be taken even to the largest scale, for this very incident has occurred in our nation?s history. In the presidential race of 1888 between Grover Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison, Cleveland won the populace by over 100,000 votes, but when broken down into Electoral College votes, Harrison won by a rather large margin. (Hively, 75)
This argument remains at the forefront of the Electoral College reform movement. The thought that a plurality of voters may not elect a president is ghastly to many people, especially that majority of uneducated electorate who were not aware that the President is not elected by direct popular vote. Many reforms have been offered as alternatives to this system, and in 1977 Congress introduced a bill to finally reform it. The bill won a simple majority in both the House and the Senate, however it needed to garner 2/3 of the votes, since it required changing the Constitution. (Hively, 75) Thus, the bill died, although it is expected to gain popularity once more in the future.
The most powerful alternative to the present system is not to completely abolish the Electoral College. If you have read this essay closely you will realize that the deepest problem with the Electoral College lies in the fact that the majority winner of a state gets all of it?s Electoral votes. A ?winner takes all? system, if you will. Therefore, a state?s Electoral votes should be divided proportionally among the two top candidates. If there are more than two candidates who received less popular votes than the top two, they should be stricken from the Electoral College ballot. Then take percentage of voters who voted for third and fourth place candidates, and subtract that from a States total number of Electoral College votes. The remaining number of Electoral Votes should be divided among the two top candidates proportionally. When all states involved have completed this process, the total number of stricken votes in the entire nation should be passed on to the House of Representatives and thrown into an open vote. The candidate who receives more House votes gets that number of Electoral votes. This is a complicated process, but is nonetheless the best way to get a good general consensus, so that an election can not possibly be dominated by individual states.
Although the Electoral College system was fairly good when it was conceived, and worked well according to the desires of the Constitutional Framers, it does not conform to the desires of America?s rapidly educating populace. One of the key ideas behind the creation of the Electoral College lied in the Framer?s base mistrust in the people of America. In 1787 the people of America were uneducated farmers and merchants. In 1999 the people of America are educated, represented, and more than worthy of being in more direct control of the Election of America?s highest office.