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Should the Electoral College be reformed?

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lorkisstrader | Honors

Posted March 15, 2012 at 2:20 AM via web

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Should the Electoral College be reformed?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 15, 2012 at 2:38 AM (Answer #1)

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The Electoral College was formed in 1787 as an alternative to having Congress directly elect the President. During those times information and communications were slow and often inaccurate, and so the College allowed each state to have a percentage vote without a long, tedious direct election process or by allowing Congress to appoint a President without oversight.

Today, the Electoral College is an unpopular relic of Old Politics. Many polls show that citizens would prefer to have a direct election of the Presidency, or a "Popular" vote; elections are decided by the Electoral Vote even if the Popular Vote points the other way. In the interest of proper Democracy, no council of officials should ever override the majority opinion, and abolishing the Electoral College would both allow more control over the Presidential Office and make for a stronger election process, as politicians and College officials could not be swayed by public opinion or lobbyists.

There are several different options to reform or replace the Electoral College, but the simplest one would be to simply remove the entire process, leaving the President to be elected entirely by popular vote. Currently, citizens feel as if their votes ultimately make no difference, and allowing the popular vote to actually decide the Presidency would fix that. There would be scope for fraud at the ballot box, but that is already a problem and this would kickstart a process to fix fraud as people would be more invested in their votes.

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mvymvy | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 20, 2012 at 2:49 AM (Answer #2)

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To abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC), without needing to amend the Constitution.

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just 'spectators' and ignored.

When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

The current state-by-state winner-take-all system of awarding electoral votes maximizes the incentive and opportunity for fraud. A very few people can change the national outcome by changing a small number of votes in one closely divided battleground state. With the current system all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who receives a bare plurality of the votes in each state. The sheer magnitude of the national popular vote number, compared to individual state vote totals, is much more robust against manipulation.                          

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

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