The Electoral College and how Popular Vote doesn’t Matter

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Updated: Mar 14, 2023
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The electoral college is the institution that is responsible for selecting the President of the United States. The Constitution states that each state has as many electoral college votes as it has senators and members of Congress, also stating that there needs to be a majority of electoral college votes to win the presidency. The popular vote of the United States is the vote that the majority of the citizens agree upon. When you vote, you are not voting directly for the presidential candidate but instead for individuals who are representatives for the candidates (electors).

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When candidates are campaigning for the seat in the oval office, they must receive the majority of the electoral votes. So the topic still remains, does voting for a candidate running for office matter if it is in the hands of the electoral college? No, it does not. Many Presidents have won the national popular vote but not the majority of the electoral votes and that is simply why they lost. There are many real-world examples that illustrate this concept which include the losing (yet winners in the eyes of the citizens) candidates: Hillary Clinton, Andrew Jackson, and Al Gore.

The article “Five presidential nominees who won the popular vote but lost the election” written by Rachael Revesz and “No, Seriously, Your Vote Doesn’t Matter” written by Jason Bell illustrate on all of the ways that a vote does not matter. Revesz goes into detail regarding the candidates for Presidency, such as Hillary Clinton, who had a lead of approximately one million votes from citizens however managed to still lose against Donald Trump. In 1824, Andrew Jackson won the popular vote but received less of the electoral votes in comparison to John Quincy Adams. The famous election of 2000 Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote but lost to George Bush. All of these examples illustrate how the national popular votes are not considered when electing the president. So this leaves the idea of why do we continue to elect presidents this way? Why do we continue to vote? We continue to elect presidents in this manner because this is what the founding fathers intended for. They suggested that they do not want a person running the country due to being popular. They wanted a group of individuals who are more intelligent, not common people to choose our president. According to Bell, we continue to vote due to “a feeling of satisfying civic duty.” Citizens still stand with the voting process because it makes one feel as if they are taking part of the country. The real-world examples of the losing candidates listed above that did not win presidency are from the article and it illustrates how the people do not specifically have a say in who is running our country.

In conclusion, the popular vote is quite controversial. Voting amps the public’s hopes up in choosing the president. When the public votes for one candidate and the electors choose another, the electors will always win. The way democracy works will not change. If it were to change, it would be rather difficult for the process to immerse. For instance, it would require amendments or state laws to commence. Although we are told to continue to vote, voting for our presidents does not matter because that it not specifically in our hands.

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The Electoral College and How Popular Vote Doesn't Matter. (2019, Apr 30). Retrieved from