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The process of going to cast your vote for a Presidential election can be exciting yet nerve-racking to see the end results. We the people of America, our vote ultimately decides who is President or Vice President right? Contrary to the common belief, the electors appointed by the people in each state make up the Electoral College; they decide who is President and Vice President. This system of voting should be kept in place because it gives smaller states a voice, ensures politically uneducated people don’t ultimately decide who is president, and creates a smaller scale for calculating votes and informing citizens.
The Electoral College was created by the Founding Fathers to ensure that popularity voting did not determine the President. This creation was in fear that “depraved men, … would erode or destroy America’s dearly won liberty” (Turner 412) by winning an election for Presidency by lying to the citizens of their true intentions. Other reasons the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College was so the President wouldn’t have too much power in office and the smaller states would have a voice in the election. The Electoral College establishes a foundation of fairness to who the people of America want for President and serves as a “checks and balance” system to ensure the President does not have too much power.
How it works
The Electoral College is defined as a “term that refers to the electors who cast the [state they represent] electoral votes” (Patterson 568). On election day, citizens in each state vote for a running candidate of a political party. This vote determines which list of political electors gets to vote on behalf of that state on election day. The elector’s vote gives the candidate running the electoral vote. To win an election for the Presidency, an applicant must be the first to receive 270 electoral votes. The number of electors who vote in America is 538. This number is representing the 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, and 3 District of Columbia given electors.
The Electoral College is made up of electors that have promised to vote for a respected candidate upon the voting day. The number of electors that vote in each state depends on the states’ number of Representatives and Senators in Congress. Each state has two Senators and a certain number of Representatives based upon the population of that state. The Electoral College has different methods of how the votes can be distributed. Commonly mistaken by people, the states make their own decision of using the unit rule or a congressional district method. The unit rule system is when “[all electoral votes are given as a whole] to the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote” (Patterson 359). This winner-take-all system is used by every state except Maine and Nebraska. The method that is used by these two states is called the congressional district method. This method uses each district vote separately and the popular vote for the state to determine which candidate gets the electoral votes. Each candidate gets one vote for every district won and two additional votes for winning the states popular vote. For example, if district 1 of Maine votes for candidate A and wins the popular vote, candidate A will receive three electoral votes while candidate B only receives one. The ratio of electoral votes would come out to be 3 to 1 because Maine only has two districts.
While the number of electoral votes is based on the number of people in Congress, Congress delegates are not allowed to become an elector. An elector is a person that has a pledged to vote for a running candidate on behalf of a state. These electors are chosen by parties nominating a list of potential electors at their state convention or by the parties committee choosing the electors for that state. Electors are always different in each state and how they are chosen is up to each states’ preference.
On election day, citizens cast their vote towards a candidate. In every state except Maine and Nebraska, the political party that won in that state has their electors cast ballots and give the respected party their electoral votes. For example, if most citizens in Oklahoma vote for the Republican candidate, the state of Oklahoma Republican electors will cast their ballot on election day for the Republican candidate. This will give all the electoral votes for the state of Oklahoma to the Republican candidate and they will be one step closer to getting 270 votes. While not unconstitutional, the electors of the state they represent can go against their states’ political vote and vote towards the opposite party.
When electing a President, the Electoral College gives all states despite population size a voice. If the Electoral College was abolished, the voting system would be based on popularity. A popularity voting system gives larger populated states the upper advantage in choosing the President because having more population means more votes. Thus, the Electoral College gives the smaller states an opportunity to have an opinion in voting for who is President. When a person knows their stance will be heard, they are more likely to speak up. This relates to how smaller states view the Electoral College, they know their voice or vote is making a difference, so more people in smaller states are going to vote which raises voter engagement rates.
One main problem with abolishing the Electoral College is giving the politically uneducated people of America a major voice in who decides the President. The Electoral College makes it possible for politically educated people to help determine who the President is despite where they live. Before I took this government course, I was completely misguided and confused about how the government functions and works. Like myself, there are many young adults that don’t fully understand the measures and importance of learning about politics and voting accordingly. This means that if the Electoral College was not in place, larger states could have more uneducated votes compared to educated votes in smaller states, but ultimately in numbers, the uneducated votes would count more. For example, if Texas and New Jersey voters all voted but Texas had all politically uneducated voters they would still win by population size. While not having the Electoral College would make candidates running more proactive in influential campaigning towards citizens in all 50 states, I believe the Electoral College helps structure our voting system when choosing our President.
There are about 325 million people living in the United States. If the Electoral College was to be abolished, we would be looking at the popularity voting system in larger numbers. Looking at just large numbers for who has the most votes for President only informs the citizens of who is winning not how each state voted. By having the Electoral College, the citizens get more information and see a smaller scale of where each individual state lies with their votes. While some can argue that it does not really matter whether we see how each state voted, I disagree because being a visual person myself I like to see what is truly happening not just be given an answer. Seeing on a smaller scale helps citizens understand that unfair votes aren’t just being given to a candidate. Another reason the Electoral College being on a smaller scale is good is for accuracy in recounting votes. If all 325 million people voted in America for President and one vote or multiple votes are miscalculated, it could throw off the whole election voting. The Electoral College provides not only stability in recounting votes but also informs citizens of how the votes are being distributed.
In conclusion, voting in America helps keep the true value of voting which is to elect a President the people want. The Electoral College implicates the true intentions of why the Founding Fathers created it which was so the people of America could always succeed with their President in charge. The Electoral College is the system that provides the people with pledged electors that vote on citizens behalf to create a smaller scale of votes. Through keeping the Electoral College, America can depend on having stability in their voting system and keep fairness to less populated states.
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