The Electoral College: A Relic of the Past

James Dubreuil ‘19
EE Co-Managing Editor

The Electoral College is a relic of the past, and is a system that America should move past. The Electoral College is one of the most undemocratic practices that goes against many American values such as popular sovereignty and derived power from the people.

The Electoral College was a process put in place by the Framers that is used during presidential elections. This system is one where the states appoint electors to vote on behalf the states residents to determine who becomes President.

In my opinion, this system is very outdated. The Electoral College was put in place in the 1770’s to ensure that only the educated could vote because the Framers felt that the educated were the only ones who could successfully determine the leader of the country. In the opinions of the Framers, the Electors were designed to be well-educated, which meant that they were rich since the rich were the only ones who could afford a good education.
The lack of a well-informed public is no longer a problem that society faces in the 21st century. With the caliber of public education that is offered, including mandatory civic education in some states like Connecticut, there is no reason the people cannot make informed decisions by themselves. Therefore, the Electoral College is no longer needed.

Some states, such as California, have recently passed legislation making it so that the electoral “voters” vote in line with how the popular vote in that state went. This means for example that if in California the popular vote majority went to the Democratic party, all the electoral votes would go to the Democratic candidate.

Another problem with the Electoral College is that it may not align with the opinions of the American people. This was seen in the 2016 presidential election where the popular vote was won by Hillary Clinton, who had 3 million more popular votes than Donald Trump. However, because of the Electoral College, Donald Trump won the presidency since he won more electoral votes. This is a scenario that I see as being very undemocratic because it is taking away power from the people, who are the ones who were meant to elect the President.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also feels that the Electoral College should be removed. At a town hall event, she said, “I believe we need a constitutional amendment that protects the right to vote for every American citizen and to make sure that vote gets counted.”

The most prevalent argument in favor of the Electoral College is that without it a few large cities like New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago would be able to determine the result of a national election. While this could be true, at the end of the day, I think the people should be trusted to make informed decisions, and therefore, they should be able to vote someone to the president by themselves rather than some random electoral voter who votes on behalf of them.

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