I am hearing many people demanding a change the Constitution to get rid of the Electoral College and go to popular vote. The Electoral College actually protects our voting rights. We are a Republic not a Democracy, and that is why the Constitution begins with “We The People.” James Monroe explains why the government was set up that way in Federalist paper 10. It protect states’ rights while also protecting individual rights.
In a nut shell the electoral college system helps to keep small areas of high population from ruling the mass. An example is that New York City has more voters than the other 39 states. Do we want NYC to overrule 39 states? Do you want any election to be decided by only California and New York? This is why the electoral college system was implemented. To make sure all eligible and registered voters’ concerns and vote will have relevance. We need to understand the Constitution before we demand a change, and this should have been done when we were in school. However, I think some people slept through that course. If not we might just make a change that makes our entire state irrelevant.
The Electoral College system has all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) run its own election and the winner of the “popular vote” for that state wins the prize. That prize is the state’s electoral votes. Each state decision is based on the “popular vote” within that state and does not depend on how many votes someone has received in a different state. Win the popular vote for the state and get that states Electoral Delegates. Winner take all.
Congress can override an Electoral vote if both Houses of Congress vote to reject it. In that case, the votes from the entire State in question are simply ignored. The electoral votes of Arkansas and Louisiana were rejected in 1872. If that results in a candidate not receiving 270, the house selects the President, which is currently republican controlled.
Let’s have another perspective of how the electoral college system works.
The World Series is very much like the Electoral College. Each game is played as an independent game and scored a win or loss in a winner take all no matter what the final number of runs. Win the game by 1 run or 10 runs and you get scored as the winner. When on side wins 4 out of 7 games the series is over. When one candidate reaches 270 electoral votes, the election is over and you have a winner.
On the other hand, let’s see how the popular vote would look like in the World Series. One person-one vote equates to the World Series Champions being determined by total number of runs scored in a total of seven games. If the Cleveland Indians were to win the first game 10-0, and the Chicago Cubs would win the next six games 1-0, the Cleveland Indians would win the series. Even though the Chicago Cubs bested the Indians in six games, it doesn’t matter because the Indians scored 10 runs to the Cubs 6. One anomalous game decides the whole series. Just like two states could decide the whole election and ignore the will of the people.
Without the Electoral College, a few heavily populated states decide the whole election. The entire election would depend on New York, California, Florida and Texas. None of the other 46 states would matter much because they don’t have enough votes to offset these four. Win three of these four big and you are president.
I guess deciding on the presidency by popular vote or Electoral College is like a decision on the World Series. Do you want whoever wins 4 out of 7 games to be champs or whoever scores the most cumulative runs across 7 games?
Now maybe the Electoral College system needs to be adjusted for the times. Maybe that would mean eliminating the need for “electors” and just using the “race for 270” to win. If a candidate wins that state with the popular vote, you win that state’s electoral votes, and the more states a candidate wins, will lead that candidate to victory.