Argument for and Against Electoral College in the United States - Paper Example

Published: 2021-07-26
1850 words
7 pages
16 min to read
University of Richmond
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Research paper
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Electoral College is the mechanism recognized in the US for the indirect election of the president and the vice president. The Electoral College is regarded as a process rather than a place, and its origin can be traced back to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. During this particular period, there were a series of debates concerning the mode of fairly electing the president of the United States. As such, a committee was then formed to investigate various ways available to elect the president, and it was then expected to table its findings and give possible recommendations(Jost and Giroux). After an intensive investigation, the committee came up with a view that a group of individuals among the states, equal in number as their legislatures in the Congress should be chosen in line with the directions of the legislature. These chosen people will constitute the Electoral College. According to this method of electing the president, the constitution was deemed to be a combination of state-based and populace grounded government. The Congress was then expected to have two houses; House Representatives for the population and Senate for the states(LeVert). First, the paper begins by explaining what electoral college is, how electoral college work, why it should remain and lastly, arguments against the use electoral college.

Electoral College is described as a group of people mandated with the responsibility of electing the President of the United States. It consists of 558 electors. The United States has 435 representatives, 100 senators and three electors provided to the District of Columbia. All these add up to 558 electors of the Electoral College that take part in electing the president (LeVert).

How electoral college work

A lot of debates on whether electoral college work or not have been there for many years. Currently, the electoral college remains a controversial mechanism of a president election since it compromises the presidential election according to some individuals. However, regardless of all these controversies, electoral college do real work and continues to work for many years to come. Americans go to the ballot booth every four years to cast their choice for president of the US. However, the result of the popular votes is not certain to stand since the electoral college has not cast its vote. For instance, in the year 2000, George W. Bush was declared the president after winning electoral college votes with 271 against his close rival Al Gore who go 266 votes even after defeating Bush in majority votes (Edwards, Wilson, and Kenneth)

The electoral college comprises of 538 electors which equals the number of members of every state delegation plus three electors for the District of Columbia. For any presidential candidates to win the electoral college, he/she requires to emerge with 270 electoral votes out of 538. It should be noted that if no candidate receives 270 of the electoral votes, a house of representative and the Senate will choose the president and the vice president respectively. States such as Pennsylvania has 20 electors one for each of 18 congressional districts and two for our U.S. senators. Therefore, the electoral college is spread out in regards to the pollution in the united states. This is the reasons why a state such as California has 55 electors, while Texas has 38 electors even though Texas is large geographically (Jost and Giroux).

There are two states namely, Mine and Nebraska which allow electors to split between candidates based on popular votes within congressional districts. This is different from other states that have the winner takes it all system which awards all electors to any candidates that win the majority of the total popular votes in every state. After the presidential elections are over, a certificate of ascertainment is prepared by all governors, and it lists all the names of presidential candidates in that particular state accompanied with the names of their electors. The ascertainment certificate is used in declaring the presidential candidate that won the majority of the votes. It is the electors of the winning candidate who then represent that given state at a meeting of electors that usually take place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December of that election year. The electors convene at the national archives in Washington D.C where they participate in voting. The votes are then counted in a joint session of the congress, and the congress then declares the winner of the presidential election (Jost and Giroux)

The United States Constitution contains few provision about the qualification of electors. There are two processes used in choosing electors in every state. First, the political parties in every state choose slates of potential electors before the real election. The second process always happens during the general election whereby the voters cast their votes to choose their slates elector. The winning slate hence becomes the states members of the electoral college. Individuals that are mostly chosen might be state party leaders, individuals with the political affiliation of the party or state elected officials. Furthermore, There are no constitutional provisions that require electors to vote in accord with the result of the popular vote in their respective state. Some states need electors to cast their vote as per majority will within the state while other states are bound by pledges to political parties to vote for a particular candidate they have been chosen to elect (Clayton). Past Election Results

Since 1824, the united states depend on electoral votes in electing the president as compared to popular votes since every states popular vote determines its electoral college vote. Even though the countrywide popular vote plays no role in deciding who wins the election, it strongly associates with who has won the presidency. 56 elections have been held so far in the United States, and in 52 results, the winner of the countrywide popular vote has also carried the electoral college(LeVert). However, there are incidences whereby the winner of the electoral vote lost popular vote outright. This happened in 1878, 1888, 2000 and 2016 presidential election. The 1876 presidential election remains one of the contagious and controversial elections in US history. After the first count of the result, the leading candidate by then, Tilden got 184 electoral votes while his close competitor Hayes gunned 165 votes with 20 votes unsettled. The 20 unsettled electoral votes were in disagreement in four states. Every party in states such as Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida reported that their candidate had won the state while in a state such as Oregon, one elector was replaced after being declared illegal. The source of controversy was the candidate that could have been awarded the unresolved electoral votes(Clayton). Another interesting presidential election was the recently concluded election between president Trump and Clinton. Trump became the president after losing the nationwide popular vote while winning the electoral college votes.

Why Electoral College Should Stay

The United States Electoral College plays a noble role towards shaping the election process of the country and hence it should not be changed. It not only used for electing the President and Vice President but also presents a somewhat elected president by all the states. The Electoral college has added strength and consistency in the method used in the election of an individual that holds one of the highest offices in the world. The United States has been using the Electoral College to elect both the President and Vice President for around 200 years and has proved very favourable to the people of America. There are various reasons to why electoral college should stay.

First, the electoral college has enlightened Democracy of the United States. Very many countries in the World claim to be fully democratic; however, they may not be enjoying the democracy like the United States. Democracy is well-defined as a system of selecting and changing a given government through free and fair elections by the active participation of eligible voters in the general election. In any given democratic country, citizens are given a chance to vie for any office of interest without isolating them based on their region, race or political affiliation. Additionally, every region also deserves to be equally represented irrespective of its geographical location or physical size, and this is what electoral college has aimed to achieve (LeVert).Secondly, the system has enhanced stability during and after the election. The Electoral College has been in place for nearly two hundred years, and during this period, elections have been smoothly conducted without severe issues. This has resulted in the United States has one of the steadiest political systems that the world has ever seen. While many countries in the world have at least old issues to do with presidential election results in their history, the United States has enjoyed peace during electioneering. This can be attributed to the credibility of the elections delivered by Electoral College (Johnston, David, and Charles).

The Electoral College has successfully united the US since different representatives that represent all states come together to elect the president. This has played a great role in strengthening the relationships and unity among the states. The United States is a continent which doubles up as the largest nation in the entire world, and all these states are united politically, economically and socially (Johnston, David, and Charles).

Third, the electoral college also makes sure that every state participates in choosing the president of the US. The presidential candidates could have limited their campaign in densely-populated areas if the election relied on heavily on popular votes. The Electoral college makes sure that the presidential candidates to campaign in all states and hence come up with the campaign strategy that focuses countrywide, as such, the candidate that wins the election will be representing the whole country(Stromberg).

Fourth, the electoral college assures inevitability to the results of the presidential candidates. If the presidential election relied heavily on majority votes, the possibility of a candidate receiving the highest number of popular votes without obtaining majority votes could have been high. This was experienced in in 1992 where president Clinton only got 43% of the popular votes and most of the electoral votes. The electoral college further creates broad mandate to provide the winning candidate with more trustworthiness; for instance, President Obama got 51.3% of the popular vote and 61% of the electoral votes. For 227 years the victor of the popular votes has lost the electoral votes only five times in 227 years, and this is evidence the that the system works (Stromberg).

Reasons Why Electoral College Need To Be Removed

The Electoral College has received a lot of animosity in the recent times as a section of people argue that it has outlived its purpose and perhaps, it is high time the constitution got amended and the system replaced. Several prominent leaders have openly displayed their discomfort concerning the Electoral College. Some of them have made press statements calling for the amendment of the constitution to eliminate the Electoral College. (Edwards, Wilson, and Kenneth). The critics have raised some reasons why the Electoral College should be abolished.

First, when the founding father was coming up with this system, they had various reasons which are not relevant at the moment. During that time, no technology allowed voters to get access to information regarding different presidential candidates before choosing...

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