Electoral College

By: Trey

The Electoral College is currently an important issue that affects all of us because of the upcoming 2008 election. The Electoral College aids in choosing our president, but unfortunately, it does not always correctly elect the president based on the popular vote, such was the case in the 2000 election. In addition, the Electoral is a social issue because many people disagree on its necessity, and believe that just an overall popular vote would be better. Although the Electoral College is mainly based on the popular vote, it also eliminates votes for certain candidates in certain states. This is a key issue and therefore the public must know not only the pros and cons, but also the inner workings of the system.

Background


The Electoral College was created by the United States Government when they were writing the constitution in order to elect the President. Before the 2000 election, there had not been much resentment of the Electoral College, but recently its use has been questioned because it was not in 350px-Electoral_map_svg.pngaccordance with the popular vote in the 2000 election. Due to this, this topic is of great importance because it is possible that in the coming 2008 election the popular vote may not correspond with the Electoral vote, so one must decide whether they like or dislike the current election process. Therefore, I hope to inform you of the possibilities and consequences of using the Electoral College system.

Before one may decide on his or her point of view, they must first know the history of the Electoral College.cats7.gif The origin of the Electoral College can be traced all the way back to the Roman Catholic Church, where every 100 citizens had only one vote. As one may see, this system is essentially the same except ours is on a larger scale. The original drafting of the Electoral College lasted for 4 elections, but after a tie with Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, they changed the system. In the second draft of the Electoral College, an elector was required to cast one vote for vice president and on vote for president. Since that time there have been several miniscule changes but none are noteworthy.

One of the main arguments against the Electoral College is that if it was a popular vote each person would have an equal vote. Furthermore, people say that the problem with the Electoral College is that one could win the popular vote, but lose the electoral vote. This has happened in the years 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000. Another argument against is that the Electoral College favors small states, thus giving them more power per capita than many of the large states. Democrats are known to complain about this facet of the Electoral College because these small states have been historically Republican. The final argument is that smaller third party organizations do not have a shot at the presidency. These arguments against are strong but so are the arguments for.
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Primarily, in order to win the Electoral Vote, the candidate must have widespread popular vote throughout the nation. In this way the Electoral College allows the more rural areas of the country to have a say in the election of the president, instead of allowing large population centers to dominate the election. Furthermore, many argue that it actually enhances the status of some minority groups by allowing them to swing the vote one way or the other in certain states. The government also says that the Electoral College provides a more widespread vote because they say it encourages more people to vote, but many say that this is a false statistic. Finally, the forefathers liked the Electoral College because if there was a popular vote, they feared that the President may become a tyrant. Although I believe that the last argument is ridiculous, there are many that support this argument. The arguments for the Electoral College are strong, but many people want to reform our system for electing the president.

The Electoral College is a very important subject because of its significance to our country. Therefore it is essential that all know the system and have a point of view on the subject. One hopes that these non-bias opinions will help one take a side on this pertinent issue.

Graphs

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This graph above demonstrates the amount of Electoral Votes allotted per state. As one can clearly see, California, New York, and Texas all have a lot of electoral votes and make up roughly one fourth of all the Electoral Votes. Furthermore, this graph shows that half of the Electoral Votes are given to 11 states, which means that someone could win the nomination even if they did not win half the states.
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This graph above shows the amount of electoral votes that are given to the winner. Through the graph one can see that in the last two elections the winner has received much less Electoral Votes than in the previous years. This happened largely because the country has been more divided in their thinking and therefore there have been closer races.
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These two graphs show the amount of electoral votes and popular votes that each candidate had in the past election. In this election, the Electoral Vote seems incorrect from the standpoint of John Kerry. Although he would not have been able to win, he had 49% of the popular vote, but he only received 47% of the Electoral votes, therefore favoring the Republicans in this election.

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These are the final two graphs and they represent the popular vote and Electoral Vote in the 2000 election between Al Gore and George Bush. During this election, Al Gore won the popular vote, as seen on the left, but lost the Electoral Vote as seen on the right. This election is able to show what many people believe to be the main problem with the Electoral College because the Electoral Vote does not directly show the opinions of the people. So, if the election had been based on popular vote, Al Gore would have won, however due to the Electoral System, George Bush won.

Conclusion


The Electoral College is an important aspect of our daily lives because it determines the president and therefore the future of the United States. Although the Electoral College is sometimes inaccurate, it is able to make the presedential election process easier. In general the electoral college is a good system, but it does have its problems. I hope you have enjoyed being educated about the electoral college.


Bibliography

“NARA Federal Register U.S. Electoral College” Office of the Federal Register http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/

Kimberling, William C. Deputy Director FEC Office of Election Administration. “The Electoral College” FEC Office of Election Administration http://www.fec.gov/pdf/eleccoll.pdf

Leip, David. “Electoral College Pros and Cons” 2003 http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php

Martingale, Gayla. “Electoral College-Pros and Cons” State University http://www.stateuniversity.com/blog/permalink/The-Electoral-College-Pros-and-Cons.html

“Presidential Election of 2000, 2004 Electoral and Popular Vote Summary” Infoplease http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0876793.html

http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2007/05/electoral_colle_1.html

http://flapsblog.com/?cat=240

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Electoral_College</span>