Why the Electoral College needs to go


graphic by Grace Weaver

The difference in the elections depending on the systems we use.

by Grace Weaver, Editor-in-Chief

The short URL of the present article is: https://lhslance.org/gwggk

This is not just Democratic sour grapes. After every modern election, there is a general cry  for the Electoral College to be dissolved. While I’m not asking for a complete overhaul of the Electoral College, I just want the states to divvy up the electoral votes based on the proportion of the popular vote. I’m not expecting much Constitutional change due to the overwhelming majority of a Republican president and Republican Congress, though.

Actually, if the Democrats were in control, would they ask for change? No. Winners aren’t concerned with what is fair.

In the 2000 election Bush v. Gore, Al Gore had more than 500,000 votes than Bush. When all the citizens votes were counted Bush had 47.9% of the vote and Gore had 48.4% . However, Gore lost the election due to the ridiculous Electoral College that magnifies the popular vote by delivering a “winner-takes-all” approach.

In the past 20 years, two presidents have won the election, but not the popular vote, due to the Electoral College.  Electors are determined by the number of representatives and the number of senators that a state has in Congress. There are 538 electors, and a candidate must win 270 to win the presidency. 

Bush had 271 electors to Gore’s 266.  In 48 of the states, the winner takes all of the electors from the state. Only Nebraska and Maine don’t use the winner-take-all system. They award votes based on the candidate who wins a specific district. 

The Electoral College was originally created because the Founding Fathers were afraid of a popular election. They feared a tyrant would be able to sway the public’s opinion and take power.

Nowadays, the checks and balance system of the government would make this highly unlikely to happen(but not impossible.) 

A proportional vote, similar to the practice of Maine and Nebraska, would give each candidate the number of electors that he or she deserves. 

This is not all in favor of one party, either.

The state of Maryland is known for being a Democratic state, and many Republicans just throw away their votes because they know that, in the end, it’s not going to make a difference in the final outcome.

In the Trump/Clinton election, 873,646 people voted for Trump in Maryland. While Clinton had 1,497,951 votes. If Maryland changed to a proportion based system, Donald Trump would’ve received 4 out of the 10 electors available in Maryland.

If we were to turn to a popular vote, millions of Americans would believe that their vote actually means something in the election. This could drastically change the outcome of the election.

Comparing the red and blue on the map, Hillary Clinton appears to have received far fewer votes, but if you look deeper, you can see that she won counties with a higher populations. For example, in Florida, Donald Trump received 4,605,515 votes while Hillary Clinton received 4,485,745 votes. There are only a few hundred thousand votes separating the two candidates. By this measure, Trump would’ve only received 14 electors rather than all 29.

After looking at Maryland and Florida’s results Trump, would have only earned 279 electors rather than his 290. This is a shocking difference, and that’s only accounting for two of the 50 states.

If everyone actually voted for who they believed should be president and not just threw away their vote, Hillary Clinton might have won the popular vote by an higher number.

In a country where we preach democratic values every day, it is still ridiculous that we don’t use a different system. As a nation, our voter turnout is one of the worst in the world, especially for developed countries

According to the Pew Research Center, only about 65% of those who meet all the voting requirements are signed up to vote. While in Belgium,  89.4% of their citizens who were eligible, sign-up to vote, and 87.2%  actually voted.

We consider ourselves the free nation, but we can’t even do one of the most amazing things in our country which is to directly elect our highest official.