The U.S. needs to abolish the Electoral College

The Electoral College is an outdated system that needs to be replaced to truly reflect our democratic ideals.


by Ella Norton, Editor-in-chief

It’s Nov. 9, 2016. I had been so confident that Hillary Clinton was going to win the election that I went to bed early the night before without watching the rest of the election.  As soon as I’m up, I rush to my computer to check the results of the election. I’m shocked and confused. All the polls had predicted that Clinton was going to win and it seemed as if Clinton was more popular with the people.

And she was. According to Time, Clinton won by 2.8 million popular votes. You know the one, that reflects the actual vote of the people? But since we don’t just consider the votes of the people and continue to use the antiquated system of the Electoral College, Donald Trump won.  

This  begs the question, why do we have this system? 

According to an article by the History Channel, the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College as a safety measure because they weren’t sure that the people would make the right choice. They also didn’t want to give the people too much power. 

By actively trying to limit the power of the people, the Electoral College goes against the foundations of this country where the people make the decisions, and the government works for the people. 

What the people can do is choose electors who vote in the Electoral Congress based on what the people say. However, according to the National Archives and Records Administration, “There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular votes in their states.” That doesn’t seem right to me. 

In my AP Government class textbook “Government in America: People, Politics and Policy” by George Edwardsm Martin Wattenberg and William Howell, they discuss how one of the fundamental aspects of a democratic society is “one person, one vote” with no one’s vote counting higher than someone else’s. Yet with the Electoral College, the electors vote counts higher than the people’s as they are the ones who make the actual decision.  

It’s also worth noting that the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College as a compromise. In an interview with the History Channel, political scientist George Edwards III said “It wasn’t like the Founders said, ‘Hey, what a great idea! This is the preferred way to select the chief executive, period. They were tired, impatient, frustrated. They cobbled together this plan because they couldn’t agree on anything else.” 

This means that even the Founding Fathers weren’t happy with this system and it was agreed on as a compromise, meaning that they may have agreed on another system or changes to the Electoral College. Since this is the case, why haven’t we made the necessary changes to fix it in 2019? The Electoral College doesn’t give the people the necessary power to elect a president and allows the electors to make the decision, not the people. This way is flawed. We should abolish the Electoral College and adopt a different system where the people have more power. 

I believe the best solution would be a national popular vote. This would mean that every vote would be counted the same. This would mean that the president who was elected would truly reflect the views of the people. 

The main argument against abolishing the Electoral College is that the cities would end up making the decisions for all elections as they are more densely populated. However, since it would be national, every person would have the right to vote and resources would be provided to make sure that rural voters got to cast their vote and their vote would count the same as everybody else’s. 

Because of the way the Electoral College currently works, smaller states’ votes carry more weight. Each state gets at least 2 senatorial votes, no matter the population, which according to The Week means that a Wyoming vote is worth 3.3 times more than a vote from Florida. By doing a national popular vote, smaller state votes would change to be equal with the rest of the country. This would also force presidential candidates to spend more time campaigning in these states because currently, they get ignored since bigger states would have more electoral votes. Changing the Electoral College would put all states on the same playing field.  

The Electoral College is an outdated system that needs to be replaced with one that accurately represents the democratic values that Americans hold dear. Until this happens, we will continue to have political crises and risk another 2016 election, where the President does not win the popular vote.