Column: Prominent Politics by Varun

What is the Electoral College, and why we should get rid of it

The Electoral College is how we vote for our president in the United States. According to the website of the Secretary of State of California, ”the candidate who gets the most votes wins the ‘electoral votes’ for that state, and gets that number of voters (or ‘”electors”’) in the “Electoral College.” Each state gets an amount of representatives proportional to its population and then two more. There are a grand total of 538 electoral votes, and candidates need a majority of 270 to win the presidency. And although this system has been in place since the founding of the country, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be changed. That is far from the case.

The first reason why the Electoral College should be removed is because it allows for a candidate to win the presidency without a majority vote. Although it is rare for a candidate to do so, it has happened five times, according to A candidate can win without the majority vote because the Electoral College is a “winner take all” system and is not directly proportional to population. If a candidate wins California like Joe Biden did in 2020, he earns all 55 electoral votes, and the 5.3 million votes that were for his competitor, President Donald Trump, are practically worthless. According to the election results by the Associated Press, Biden has 5.3 million more votes than President Trump in California. But they are also essentially worthless because all he needs is a bare majority. This makes votes in swing states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, and Florida worth far more than in states where elections aren’t in the slightest bit close like Illinois, California, and Mississippi.

The United States should switch to a popular vote also because of the concept of “unfaithful electors.” When people vote for president, they are actually voting for electors instead. These electors, chosen by political parties, then vote for the president a month after the election takes place. Electors almost always vote for whoever received the most votes in their state. However, electors could in theory vote for whomever they please. According to CGP Grey, some states have laws preventing this but not all of them do, allowing for a handful of people to go against what has been decided by over 140 million people. These opportunities allow the Electoral College to go against the will of the people, and it is why it should be removed. America is a democracy, and what the people have decided should not be prevented in any way.

The biggest arguments shown from advocates of the Electoral College according to PragerU, is that it allows for small states to have influence, and that a popular vote would allow for a bare majority to tyrannize the minority, which is what the founding fathers were afraid of. For the first argument, small states have influence on the election with or without the Electoral College. They will have influence directly related to their population, which is the fairest solution for the entire country. Advocates for the Electoral College are scared that big cities will always choose what the small states do, but it should not work the other way around either. As for the second argument, America is far too integrated of a country for there to be a constant bare majority. America is one of the most diverse countries in the world, with people of so many different races, sexual orientations, backgrounds, income levels, religions, and core values. People often change their mind when it comes to presidential candidates and are not bound by party lines. Of the last ten presidents, six have been Republican and four have been Democratic, with the majority of presidents winning the popular vote along with the electoral vote. But the Electoral College shouldn’t exist because two of the last ten presidents did not win the popular vote and were put into office by a minority of American voters. This is not okay as the president obviously plays a very prominent role in America, and if the majority of Americans didn’t want him/her, he/she could bring about change that was not generally wanted by Americans.

To preface, a system that allows the minority to decide something instead of the majority is counterintuitive to the idea of a democracy, which is what America is. The solution, however, is complicated due to power politics. I have two solutions in mind. The first solution is very simple as it is a popular vote. However, this has had backlash from the Republican Party because they want representation for all states. My second solution was to have a presidential candidate not only need the electoral vote, but also need the popular vote. This would appease both sides but bring about the question, what happens if one candidate gets the electoral vote and not the popular vote or vice versa. My solution is that the election goes to the House of Representatives like it does if no candidate gets a majority of 270 votes in the Electoral College. However, in the Electoral College, electors cast votes as a state, meaning all electors in a state decide which candidate to vote for and cast their votes. But this would be unproportional to the population, so in case one candidate receives the popular vote and not the electoral vote(or vice versa), the House votes as 435 members which would then prevent a tie in any regards whatsoever. This allows for a proportional election that allows small states to have more influence than if it were a regular popular vote, but less then if it were an electoral vote. The Electoral College has allowed for unfair presidential decisions in the past, but I believe this solution can create a fair system for all Americans.