What Should the US Do About the Electoral College?

Priscilla Bermudez, Senior Copy Editor

In 1787 at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College to decide the outcome of future presidential elections. This system was built to prevent uneducated citizens from having a final say in the election through popular vote. The Electoral College, therefore, serves the purpose of ensuring American citizens make a wise choice during elections. Though the system has served this intended purpose in the past, currently it seems to hinder the outcomes of the elections. 

1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016. These are the years the elected president has lost the popular vote, but still received the job because they won the Electoral College. This poses the question: why does the Electoral College still have more of a say than the will of the American people?

The Electoral College’s purpose when the Founding Fathers created it no longer applies to modern society. Technology and political parties allow for the spread of information not possible at the time of the College’s creation. Now, the majority of American citizens have access to information on political candidates and have the ability to make their own decisions using this information, something American citizens could not do back in 1787.

In addition, the Electoral College gives more power to the states than to the people. Political candidates tend to focus on swing states because those states affect the outcome of the election. In this year’s elections, Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are key states to win the election. The issue is that states should not decide the outcome of the presidential election the popular vote should, since it better represents the will of the people.

Due to the race to win swing states, presidential candidates do not focus on appealing to Americans from all states. It causes presidential campaigns to lose focus of their goal because they become preoccupied with campaigning for swing states. Aside from this, this system overlooks the one person-one vote doctrine established in the Supreme Court case Baker v. Carr.

The Electoral College gives each state an electoral vote according to the amount of representatives the state has in the House of Representatives, plus two electors to represent the state’s senators. As a result, smaller states are overrepresented because they get two electoral college votes no matter the size of the population of the state. Due to this, the smaller population has a larger share of two electoral votes than those in larger states. 

The U.S. government is the only presidential government that uses an Electoral College system to elect the president; other governments depend solely on the popular vote. Though it does not serve its intended purpose nowadays, the Electoral College could be very useful as a source to back up the popular vote if it went through some changes, such as ensuring equal representation within states. Just like amendments can be added to the Constitution, they can and should be added to the Electoral College.