• Dani Brinberg

The Electoral College Dispute

The Electoral College has become an increasingly popular topic of debate amongst U.S. citizens. Supporters of the Electoral College think that what was written in the Constitution should remain unaltered, while people who are opposed to the system argue that the Constitution is subject to change and should be updated. Both sides assert (at least publicly) that they simply seek the most fair system for electing the president. So what is the most fair system?

People who are against the Electoral College argue that it is not an accurate representation of voting throughout the country. They support this view by citing the fact that while the Electoral College is supposed to be based on population, there have been 5 elections in history in which the presidential candidate who won the election lost the popular vote. In these cases, the President Elect was supported by fewer Americans than his opponent.

Another reason for many people’s opposition to the Electoral College is that it focuses inordinate attention on the swing states. There were 13 swing states in the 2020 election; the 37 other states being viewed as practically guaranteed to vote for a particular party. People in favor of abolishing the Electoral College think it’s unfair to leave the election up to these 13 states. Worse still, presidential candidates quite predictably concentrate heavily on swing states at the expense of the majority.

This leads to another common argument against the Electoral College; the system decreases voter turnout. This claim is supported by the likely supposition that people in non-swing states are less likely to vote because the outcome of the election for their state is pretty much decided. Surely most citizens of the U.S. would agree that the more people that vote, the better, because it is important that the election is the most accurate possible representation of what the people want.

Although the Electoral College is widely disputed, many citizens are still in support of it. One major justification for keeping the system in place is that it was established by our Founding Fathers. A person who supported this justification would likely think it is very important that we do not alter the Constitution because its policies represent what our forefathers intended for us. As Alexander Hamilton put it, “The process of (the Electoral College) affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.”

Hamilton fought to make the voices of minorities heard, and he believed that the Electoral College accomplished this goal. This belief is also held by Electoral College supporters of today. They argue that the Electoral College ensures that votes from people in less-populated areas have an affect on the election. It guarantees that the rural areas of the country have influence on the election by assigning a certain number of electoral votes to each state based on its population. Supporters of the electoral college fear an election solely using the popular vote because they think it would be mostly decided by densely populated cities. They believe that this could lead to an unqualified president being put in office.

One other major argument for pro-Electoral College citizens is that with the Electoral College, election results are more easily tabulated and more easily recounted than if officials had to count the vote of each citizen. This argument is well-supported by the most recent election because in the states where the vote was close, votes were recounted repeatedly to confirm results.

Talk of the dispute surrounding the Electoral College has increased recently because of the 2020 election. From an early stage, experts could tell that the election was riding on just 6 key swing states. It turned out that the vote count in these states was incredibly close, yielding recounts in Michigan, Georgia, and Wisconsin, all of which Joe Biden won in early November. After thorough recounts, Joe Biden was officially declared President Elect of the United States on Monday, December 14th.

Our country must figure out which system of electing the president is the most fair and accurate according to what the majority of U.S. citizens want, whether that’s using the Electoral College, the popular vote, or some other voting system.