The Election Process of US President
With tears running down their faces, Hillary Clinton supporters began to fester anger at the Electoral College after their preferred candidate lost to Donald Trump by 74 Electoral Votes despite the fact that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by just under 3 million. The 2018 election came down to four swing states, Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin, in which the combined margin of the popular vote was less than 250,000 (TheNation.com). Due to the Electoral College, states that are not closely contested during the general election are negatively affected. According to archives.gov, the founding fathers had intended the Electoral College, “as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.” Despite the founding fathers assuredness that the electoral college was the best possible solution, the system of the Electoral College is unfair to non-swing states because of the lack of time and money candidates spend in the state, the electoral college causes votes in states such as Wyoming to outweigh votes in California (WashingtonPost.com), and
According to Article II Section 1, ” The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves.” The electors vote on the candidate their respective state voted for. Each state has an allotted number of electoral votes, which are won by popular vote in that respective state. The Electors are called to vote on the third Monday in December. The electors theoretically do not have to vote for the candidate their state chose but they are obligated (history.com). According to NPR.com, there are possibility’s for “faithless electors”. A “faithless elector” is an elector who does not vote for their candidate. The last time time a there was a “faithless elector”, was in 1988 when a member of the Electoral College voted for Lloyd Bentsen, election loser Michael Dukakis’s Vice-Presidential candidate (NPR.com). Since the Electoral College’s inception, it has been a flawed system of voting.
Due to the system of the Electoral College, presidential candidates only campaign in swing states, which causes the presidential candidates to ignore the majority of voters. In the 2012 presidential election, neither Governor Romney nor President Obama, campaigned in California, Texas, or New York, America’s most populated states. Florida, a state with a comparative population, received thirty-seven rallies from September 7, 2012 to October 31, 2012. Donors in California, New York, and Texas combined, donated about 230 million dollars while donors from Florida donated about 48.5 million dollars (FairVote.org). As a result of the Electoral College, America’s three most populous states are virtually ignored. This may cause a decline in politically active citizens due to the candidates lack of attention to the voters issues. In a state such as California a voter may be less inclined to vote than a voter in a swing state such as Florida. In Florida, every persons vote is crucial and is heavily coveted for with ads and political rhetoric.
Thanks to the Electoral College, votes in the state of Wyoming weigh 3.6 times more than an vote in California. Wyoming has a population of 586,107 with three electoral votes, while California has 39,144,818 citizens with only 55 electoral votes. Although this is the most egregious example, the ten states with the least population outweigh the ten largest states by a ratio of 1 to 2.5. These statistics prove that the electoral college is an outdated system. When the Electoral was first instituted in 1792, votes in the state of Delaware, the least populous state, only outweighed votes in the largest state, Virginia, by 1.6 (Washington Post). Populations in US cities has increased by 12 percent from 2000 to 2010, especially in California, New York, North Carolina, Illinois, and New Jersey all states that are solidly democratic (Census Bureau). If the state is solidly democratic such as California, a Republican vote will not matter at all and it is the state is republican such as Texas. If the American presidential election would be based upon a popular vote, theoretically every vote would matter and be worth the same amount. Under the current system of the Electoral College, votes matter the most in swing states with small populations such as New Hampshire.