What is the function of the Electoral College? Do you feel it should be abolished or maintained?

The function of the Electoral College is to provide an interim step in the election of the President of the United States. Citizens vote for electors, who then vote for the President. The Founding Fathers established the Electoral College to prevent heavily populated areas from selecting popular local leaders and to balance the power to sway elections among all the states.

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Contrary to what many people believe, the government of the United States is not a direct democracy, but rather a representative democracy. The votes of its citizens do not directly determine who becomes president. Instead, the president is chosen by a group of citizens called electors in a group known...

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Contrary to what many people believe, the government of the United States is not a direct democracy, but rather a representative democracy. The votes of its citizens do not directly determine who becomes president. Instead, the president is chosen by a group of citizens called electors in a group known as the Electoral College. There are exactly 538 electors; the number is derived from a total of 100 senators and 435 representatives in Congress as well as three special electors from the District of Columbia. Each state receives the same amount of electoral votes equal to the number of senators and representatives that it has.

The electors choose the president forty-one days after the popular vote. There is no constitutional imperative or federal law that requires electors to vote according to the will of the people. However, a majority of states have laws in place that require electors to cast their votes for the candidate that the people prefer, and in all the rest of the states, it is common practice for electors to choose their party's candidate. In almost all the states, the candidate that wins a majority of the state's votes gains all the electoral votes. In Nebraska and Maine, though, the Electoral votes are portioned out congressional district by district.

The Founding Fathers had two main reasons for creating the Electoral College. One of their concerns was that a powerful leader from a heavily populated part of the country might assume leadership through direct or indirect coercion. The Electoral College created a buffer between the possibly uninformed masses and the ultimate presidential selection. The other concern was that the more populated states would dominate the election process. The Electoral College was meant to empower the smaller states and give more balance to the electoral process.

The Electoral College process has been controversial since its inception. One outstanding example is the presidential election in 2000, when Al Gore won the popular vote but George Bush received three more electoral votes and so assumed the presidency. Perhaps the strongest argument for its abolishment is that voters are much better informed than they were when the country was formed, so there is no need for the interim step of the Electoral College in presidential elections.

The question calls for your personal opinion, so you need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the Electoral College presented here and then state your own viewpoint as to whether it should be maintained or abolished. You can use the information given above to compose your substantive arguments.

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