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To what extent do you agree with the statement that "the electoral college has grown...

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carlw1 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted November 14, 2010 at 12:32 PM via web

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To what extent do you agree with the statement that "the electoral college has grown MORE democratic through time?"

To what extent do you agree with the statement that "the electoral college has grown MORE democratic through time?"

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 14, 2010 at 12:39 PM (Answer #2)

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This is true without any question whatsoever.

At the time that George Washington and John Adams and people like that were getting elected, the people had essentially no say in the elections.  The legislatures selected electors and the electors decided who to vote for as president.  This is extremely undemocratic because the people are only getting to vote for the president at third hand.

Now, the Electoral College is pretty much a formality (at least in terms of who gets each state's votes).  The electors essentially have no leeway to vote for whoever they want.  They pretty much have to vote for the person who wins their state's popular vote.  The last time that an elector voted for someone other than the person who won that elector's state was, I believe, 1976.

Nowadays, the electors from a state always vote the way the popular vote tells them to.  This is much more democratic than the system where the electors actually picked who they wanted to vote for.

You can argue that the winner-take-all system is undemocratic and that the system could be more democratic if that were eliminated.  But I don't see how you can argue that the system is not more democratic than it used to be.

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cwing | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 14, 2010 at 2:19 PM (Answer #3)

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:o wow that's a long answer...

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted November 19, 2010 at 9:01 PM (Answer #4)

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As mentioned above the electoral college always votes the way the voters voted in today's modern elections. In earlier times this was not always the case, so I guess we would have to say it has become more democratic.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 22, 2010 at 3:24 PM (Answer #5)

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I think #2 makes a number of extremely valid points helping us to think through the way that the electoral college has definitely become more democratic as time goes by. What is key to focus on is that while it is not perfect (and what political system ever is), the good news is that as time has passed we have seen a gradual but steady trend towards a more representative system.

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mvymvy | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 22, 2010 at 5:37 PM (Answer #6)

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The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes – enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). An election would never be thrown into the House.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium, and large states. It has been enacted by DC, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes -”28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

NationalPo­­pularVote­.­com

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mvymvy | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 23, 2010 at 1:11 PM (Answer #7)

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The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes – enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC). An election would never be thrown into the House.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium, and large states. It has been enacted by DC, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Washington. These seven states possess 76 electoral votes -”28% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

NationalPo­­pularVote­.­com

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

Posted November 26, 2010 at 6:41 PM (Answer #8)

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I look at this from a different angle.  YES, the EC is more democratic and representative than it has been in the distant past, or during the Gilded Age, but it's still quite undemocratic overall, given its disproportionate representation of some states and the fact that the much larger population of the United States is still represented by the same number of electors. We just shift the around every census.

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