Abolish Electoral College?

Sussex County Online User Forums: Sussex County Delaware Discussion Forum: Abolish Electoral College?
By Eric Magill on Saturday, November 11, 2000 - 10:33 am:

If nothing else, this year's Presidential election has given all of us a good history lesson on the purpose of the Electoral College.

Because Al Gore won the popular vote by a slim margin but will likely lose the electoral college vote by just such a slim margin, many are calling for the abolition of the Electoral College by Constitutional amendment.

We feel, though, that basing the presential election on the popular vote would give larger states even more voting power than they already have over smaller states. Larger states already have plenty of power in the Electoral College but as a state, Delaware would go from having 1 percent of the Electoral vote to an imperceptibly small percentage of the popular vote if the Electoral College were repealed.

So what is your opinion on the Electoral College?

By jtmumford on Sunday, November 12, 2000 - 11:50 pm:

A bit of history to go along with this discussion.
One of the several reasons for the electoral college was that the framers of the Constitution were split on the process of electing the President. One side felt that there should be a direct election by popular vote. The other side felt that the general population might not be informed enough and wanted Congress to elect the President. The electoral college was a compromise.

By Guardian on Tuesday, November 28, 2000 - 01:39 pm:

Unfortunately, as the Founding Fathers suggested, in reality, many voters aren't qualified to select a president. I would bet a majority haven't gone beyond the emotional, polarizing "sound bites", or their own traditional biases to even consider the intellectual, professional and moral qualifications of a candidate, much less their professional or political experience.

Republicans are always promising change, or bribing the electorate with tax cuts.

Democrats are always harping about big business taking advantage of the downtrodden who can't care for themselves.

In an election process where collecting the most money and "electability" dictate who the candidates are, and where the best qualified candidates won't compromise their principles to maintain a viable candidacy, and the voters can't see beyond their own personal issues in the best interest of the country, falling back on the popular election process certainly isn't the best way to go.

We are currently attempting to resolve the election of an experienced Federal Government "heir apparent" (who only got the nomination because he was a loyal Democrat and Vice President) and a marginally qualified smooth talking "electable" governor who's only Federal connections are his father's coat tails.

It isn't the Electoral College which is the problem. It is the Election Process that leaves the best qualified candidates by the wayside because they won't compromise their principles or reputation by begging for money to finance an election. Sorry I strayed from the precise subject.

By guyatwrk on Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - 03:53 pm:

We are currently attempting to resolve the election of an experienced Federal Government

So true, and we found out how corrupt this country is.

One of the several reasons for the electoral college was that the framers of the Constitution were split on the process of electing the President. One side felt that there should be a direct election by popular vote...

Exactly, and that shows we were never really the UNITED STATES, and then the Civil War proved it.

By Megha717 on Thursday, April 11, 2002 - 05:24 pm:

This is basically why I chose history as a major. I wanted to find out why dumb people like this made up something as stupid as the electoral college. I'll be 18 in 5 days and honestly, I'm not ready to be busting down the doors to vote in any election. We basically put a few people in charge of electing our president. So then, what's the point in the popular vote? Either way, our votes aren't really used to put a man into office. That was proved when Gore wasn't elected. I'm not saying I wanted Gore in there, (I'm strictly republican) but he did win the popular vote. And how do the electors get to be electors anyway? Maybe I should take up politics instead so I can abolish some of these laws that make no sense anymore. I thought the Constitution was written so that it could be used many years down the road? Seems as if not all of it was.

By Megha717 on Thursday, April 11, 2002 - 05:27 pm:

Yes, jtmumford, grant it, people weren't as knowledgable about public affairs as we are today, but that's basically taking away your civil liberties as an American. We shouldn't keep being repressed by the lack of knowledge that our forefathers had. We should also be smart enough to get rid of things that don't work properly anymore.

By twilliams on Friday, April 12, 2002 - 10:46 am:

"I wanted to find out why dumb people like this made up something as stupid as the electoral college."

Actually, the electoral college was a brilliant concept. AS mentioned by the lead post in this discussion, Wyoming currently controls 3 out of 538 electoral votes or .6%. If a simple majority vote would be used (based on population) then Delaware would have 783,600 out of 281,421,906 possible votes, or .1%. One Sixth of the "voice" they get with the electoral college.

California, on the other hand, gets 54 of 538 electoral votes, or 10%. If a simple majority vote were used they would have 33,871,648 out of 281,421,906 possible votes, or 12% of the vote, or 85% of the total they get witht he electoral college.

With the electoral college the differnece between highly populous states is somewhat balanced with the states with smmaller populations. Without the electoral college the small states would easily be forgotten by the federal government. This is what the founding fathers were trying to protect against.

"So then, what's the point in the popular vote?"

The popular vote determines which politcal party chooses the electors. I.E. In Delaware, Gore won the popular vote, so the Democrat Party chose Delawares three electors for the electoral college.

"And how do the electors get to be electors anyway?"

They are selected by the party whose candiate won the states popular vote. They are usually very active in the party's political machine.

"I thought the Constitution was written so that it could be used many years down the road? Seems as if not all of it was."

It was, and it still works. In fact, I believe our US Constitution is the longest lasting document in world history regarding the establishment of a government.

"people weren't as knowledgable about public affairs as we are today"

You know, I would think just the opposite. Given the ready access to all sorts of media and research on the governemnt today, I think that people are less knowledgeable about the government than our forefathers. There may have been less out there for them to learn from back then, but I'll bet a higher percentage of the electorate sought out the truth.

By Megha717 on Saturday, April 13, 2002 - 08:14 pm:

But, the Electoral College was made to decide who won the election because the commom people of that day were very uneducated. I don't want to argue your thoughts, but the Electoral college serves no real purpose in our society today. Many people feel that their vote doesn't matter. And the other percentage of Republicans that voted for Bush in our state were not represented in the Electoral vote cast for our state.

By twilliams on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 08:53 am:

"the Electoral College was made to decide who won the election because the commom people of that day were very uneducated"

In part, it was, but it also a means to keep the balance of power between large and small states. This issue was very important int hat era, in fact, there was even a war over the whole issue of states rights in the mid 1860's.

"the Electoral college serves no real purpose in our society today. Many people feel that their vote doesn't matter"

There vote matters even less without the Electoral College. The popular vote matters on the state level because of the Electoral College, so your vote, in Delaware, is 1 in 783,600. Without the Electoral College, your vote would be 1 in 281,421,906. Personally, I like the odds the way they are now.

"the other percentage of Republicans that voted for Bush in our state were not represented in the Electoral vote cast for our state."

They were not represented in the Electoral College, but Bush supporters had the opportunity to win all of those votes. That's what makes the Electoral College so special, its and all or none deal. Delaware's 3 votes could make a difference in the election of a President. By making it "all or none" it forces the candidates to campaign a little here, otherwise a small state like DE would likely be forgotten.

By Kevin Young on Tuesday, November 09, 2004 - 05:35 pm:

i think we should either update the electoral college or keep it i mean why change the way we vote i think it is just fine

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