Should the Electoral College System be Preserved?

Many forces shape the conduct of presidential elections; few are more significant than the Electoral College. This complex, rather odd institution was another compromise at the Constitutional Convention, a means to moderate the “passions of the public” and to allow smaller states a greater say in the selection of the president.

Today, the Electoral College system shapes the politics of how and where presidential candidates campaign in the general election. And, occasionally, as in the 2000 presidential election, who wins the White House.

Walter Berns, Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute says KEEP IT: “I doubt we could come up with a better system than they (the Founders) did.”

Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) says DUMP IT: ” The Electoral College is an antiquated institution that has outlived its purpose… it represents a serious and persistent flaw in our current system.”

What do YOU think about the Electoral College – keep it, alter it, dump it??
(For full credit, offer evidence from your text OR FROM YOUR OWN RESEARCH to bolster your argument!)
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About Dr. Ostroff
Head of Upper School at The Emery/Weiner School in Houston, TX

259 Responses to Should the Electoral College System be Preserved?

  1. Abby C says:

    I think that the electoral college had a place when the constitution was being created, but in today’s society I do not think that it was a place. In today’s society, it has an issue of the popular vote not winning the election, which in the modern world is a huge issue.
    Here is a source that I gathered some information from: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/should-electoral-college-be-abolished
    Abby C

  2. Dresden S says:

    I think we should keep the Electoral College because it gives a voice to the smaller states and maintains a two party system. But the system needs to be improved. Larger states should get more votes then smaller states. That would be more equal.

  3. govjerneeg says:

    I do not think the Electoral College should be preserved, because it seems to cause many problems than it resolves. In many elections presidential candidates who have won the popular vote did not win the presidency because of the Electoral College system. This system is unfair because it also discourages people from voting if they believe that their state will vote in a certain direction and because of this I believe the Electoral College system is flawed in may ways. Minn Post, writer Eric Black states that,”It creates the possibility for the loser of the popular vote to win the electoral vote. This is more than a theoretical possibility.” I believe that this one of the many underlying problems that the electoral college system has caused. Although this has only happened a few time some people might argue that this system does not seem fair. I would respond by saying that nothing is actually fair, but in order to see the results we want we have to run with what we have.

    https://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2012/10/10-reasons-why-electoral-college-problem

  4. govannas says:

    I believe we should keep the electoral college. The electoral college simplifies the recount process for candidates. If we based the outcome on popular vote and it was close, it could provoke a nationwide recount in virtually every state. I do believe it is odd that if a candidate wins the electoral vote, they may not win the presidency

    http://www.cgpgrey.com/blog/how-the-electoral-college-works.html

    Anna S.

  5. 16goitej says:

    The Electoral College should be abolished because it is an unfair and unbalanced system. Which allows smaller states have more power over larger more populated states. You might be voting for the next president of the United States, but with the Electoral College your vote might not even count. So whose vote are we really count, why isn’t everyone’s vote weighted equally?

  6. TrystanV says:

    I think we should keep the electoral college because it helps with the smaller states. It also helps with maintaining the two party system.

  7. Alyssa Rucker says:

    Yes the Electoral college should be preserved because it makes all states equal. This is what our country is always fighting for, which is equality. Some say that the fact that smaller states get the same amount of electoral votes as a more populated state is unfair, but if we don’t give the smaller populated states the same amount of electoral votes it will not be fair to the smaller states. Either way each side is arguing that there is not equality, but I think that smaller states’ votes should matter just as much as the bigger states’ votes. http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php

  8. SaintsGOV16 says:

    I think that the Electoral College should be dumped. It doesn’t help out the candidates. One of the candidates could be winning the popular vote but because of the Electoral College they end up not winning the whole presidential election.
    http://rangevoting.org/EMorg/college.htm
    Sarah S

  9. Katie K. says:

    I think we should dump it because if there are more democratic or republican electoral votes then there is a stronger vote leaning towards their side. And it may overcome the general population vote so it’s not fair. And I think it should be up to the people rather than just those senators in the Electoral college.

  10. SaintsGOV16 says:

    The Electoral College System should be preserved.The electoral college synthesized two important philosophies established in the Constitution: (1) the maintenance of a republican, as opposed to a democratic, form of government (the explicit constitutional provisions on this issue, as well as the specific declarations of the Founders, will be examined later in this paper)
    http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=95

  11. Tien N says:

    http://bangordailynews.com/2012/11/28/opinion/five-reasons-to-keep-the-electoral-college/

    I think we should keep the Electoral College, because it created an equality in voting. You will not be a president even you have more votes at popular vote. You still have electoral vote to decide if you would be a new president or not. So that will creates a fair competition between the candidates.

  12. Jessica Roff says:

    The Electoral College was created to help smaller, less populated states have a voice in the Presidential elections. Robert Hardaway wrote, “The Electoral College is a key part of federalism, which is the foundation of our system of government.” This being said, the Electoral College was created to help those who wouldn’t normally be heard, be part of the decision on who is President. Also, it was founded in the Constitution, there for should remain apart of our government.

    http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/should-electoral-college-be-abolished

  13. SaintsGOV16 says:

    There have been many people debating on whether or not the Electoral College system should be kept or eliminated. But there are also many defenders of the Electoral College who, offer very powerful arguments in its favor. I believe we should keep the Electoral College because it contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president. It enhances the status of minority interests, contributes to the stability of the nation by encouraging a two-party system, and maintains a federal system of government and representation.
    http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php

  14. GovKristinC says:

    The Electoral College is an effective method of electing the President. The main argument against this process is that it potentially nominates a candidate undemocratically. There has only been three incidences when a President was nominated according to the Electoral College, not Popular Vote. Abolishing it would weaken the two-party system by urging third parties to seek election, rather than their typical purpose of bringing radical unconventional ideas to the main two parties. http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/25/opinion/l-we-should-keep-the-electoral-college-637191.html

  15. Floyd D says:

    The electoral college lacks the ability of giving everybody their voice, due to the fact that the popular is inaffective in its process. However, it does a good job of giving the small states a chance and keeping the federalistic idea alive. Even with its holes, it does provide a solid foundatiion.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I believe that the electoral College is an effective way to choose the president, but the process must be changed. States with larger amounts of people should have more votes than smaller states. The winner of the popular vote should not always win the election but they should be giving a little more power in the election. Although the system is flawed it still has advantages. One being that it is time efficient and it does not completely allow larger states to control every election.

    • Anonymous says:

      I believe that the electoral College is an effective way to choose the president, but the process must be changed. States with larger amounts of people should have more votes than smaller states. The winner of the popular vote should not always win the election but they should be giving a little more power in the election. Although the system is flawed it still has advantages. One being that it is time efficient and it does not completely allow larger states to control every election. Michael Williams

  17. SaintsGOV16 says:

    Although I believe that the Electoral College system does a great job maintaining the two-party system, I believe that it should not be preserved. I do not believe that the smaller, less populated states should weigh more than large states with less swing because I do not believe that represents our country as a whole. I also disagree with this system because if a candidate receives the largest percentage of popular votes, he can still not be victorious.
    -Luke A

    http://occupytheory.org/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-electoral-college/

  18. Anonymous says:

    http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/keep-electoral-college
    “This week a majority of electors made George W. Bush the next president of the United States. Many Democrats complain that his victory, though constitutional, defies the spirit of “democracy” because Bush did not get a majority of the popular vote. Doesn’t democracy mean the candidate with the most votes wins?”
    I am indifferent about keeping the Electoral College because if you keep the Electoral College, the candidates are only trying to get votes from a certain group, but it you take away the Electoral College, the candidates will have to try to get votes from the Nation.
    Noah M.

  19. govjerneeg says:

    I do not think the Electoral College should be preserved, because it seems to cause many problems than it resolves. In many elections presidential candidates who have won the popular vote did not win the presidency because of the Electoral College system. This system is unfair because it also discourages people from voting if they believe that their state will vote in a certain direction and because of this I believe the Electoral College system is flawed in may ways.

    by JerneeG

  20. Hannah B. says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/25/opinion/l-we-should-keep-the-electoral-college-637191.html

    I believe the electoral college does more good than harm. If we were to abolish the electoral college it would effect our past and our future, the smaller states would have a smaller chance of being heard.

  21. govmarissar says:

    “…in calling for abolition of the Electoral College because it might undemocratically produce the ‘wrong winner.’ Only three times in our history has the loser of the popular vote become President, and just once could the Electoral College be blamed.” As mentioned in the New York Times, the Electoral college “has saved us from such crises of legitimacy because giving the winner all of a state’s electoral votes usually magnifies the popular vote winner’s margin.” ( http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/25/opinion/l-we-should-keep-the-electoral-college-637191.html ) The reason for the Electoral College was not to stand against the people of the United States. but to set the voting field at a level across the country. “One of the reasons the electoral college was established in the first place was to allow states with small populations to have an equal say in the Presidential elections. This still holds true today. Without the electoral college these states would be completely ignored and obsolete when it comes to votes.” ( http://thenextgalaxy.com/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-the-electoral-college/ ) One of the reasons the Electoral college was founded in the first place was to set a sort of equality between each of the states. If we got rid of the Electoral college, this equality would no longer be set.

  22. Abby C says:

    I Think that the electoral college had a purpose at one point in time, but in today’s society I think that it is no longer needed to make a fair and honest decision about what needs to be decided.

    Abby C

  23. SaintsGOV16 says:

    The Electoral College system is effective in helping to determine the winners of elections; however, it should not continue because it cancels out the popular vote. The popular vote, in my opinion, matters more because it consists of all of the citizens votes. It’s foundation is the votes of the people who will be living in society under the president.

    Walker R.

  24. Sophia I. says:

    Sophia I.
    The Electoral College is the foundation of our system of government, therefore I think we should keep it. Although the Electoral College is not perfect nothing ever really is perfect. The Electoral College protects us from splinter parties.One downside of the Electoral College is that it gives more weight to votes of the smaller states. Another downside is that it is majority takes all, so those that don’t agree with what the majority says does not get noticed. I think that the Electoral College should be altered but not dumped because it has been a big part of our government.
    http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/should-electoral-college-be-abolished

  25. govannas says:

    I believe we should keep the electoral college. The electoral college simplifies the recount process for candidates. If we based the outcome on popular vote and it was close, it could provoke a nationwide recount in virtually every state.

  26. govallenah says:

    The electoral college is effective and ineffective depending on how you look at it. When a candidate wins over a state then the whole state and there electronic votes goes to them. The popular vote of a candidate should determine the winnings of the presidential election. The battleground states are the most common to be fought after but what happens to the other states that are not fought after and wanted? they do no get appreciated for all of their votes a the smaller states do. How is that fair?

  27. SaintsGOV16 says:

    http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php says,”The Electoral College has performed its function for over 200 years (and in over 50 presidential elections) by ensuring that the President of the United States has both sufficient popular support to govern and that his popular support is sufficiently distributed throughout the country to enable him to govern effectively.”
    This fact proves that we have been able to function as a country with great presidents through Electoral College and we should continue that way.
    MimiG

  28. Dave Ostroff says:

    EmilyP writes: “Using the Electoral College turns winning the presidency into a game. Candidates are forced to focus their campaigns on swing states and, as a result, completely ignore the majority of the United States. I understand that the Electoral College benefits small states in that they get more of a say in who becomes president, but why is so much stress placed on statesmanship? Our country, after all, is the UNITED States. The role of the state is to determine internal affairs, but the president is very much a national one. For this reason, amending the Constitution in order to abolish the Electoral College is essential. Nobody can argue that unproportional representation is fair. The most just way to ameliorate this dilemma is to go by popular vote. That way everybody’s vote does count.”

  29. Madeline C says:

    While doing research on the Electoral College, I was interested on why this system has worked for so long yet many people are still so against it. Through all the pros and cons, valid points were made and arguments were taken into consideration but my opinion was never swayed. I believe the Electoral College should be kept because it gives minorities and small states a voice, while keeping the tradition of federalism in the United States. The system allows each of the states the freedom to design its own laws in regards to voting and offers each the ability to effect change. (http://how-does-the-electoral-college-work.blogspot.com)

  30. Abby G says:

    Althought the Electoral College system may be seen as an effective and fair way to elect the president, I believe it should no longer continue. This system causes problems concerning the popular vote, it generally favors the Democratic Party, and may cause citizens to question the significance and importance of their votes which causes them to stop showing up to the voting polls which leads to less informed citizens in our country.

    http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php

  31. Emily Cook says:

    The Electoral College system means to do America good,in that its goal is to provide the country with the intended and wanted president via majority votes within the state. The problem with this seemingly flawless notion is that although the votes may be majority within the state, the majority within the country may express otherwise. Ronald Ryterski posts this comment on an article supporting the Electoral system, in response to a commenter who disagreed with the statement, “Remember there is a Democrat somewhere who feels the same way as you about their Republican state”. I like this quote a lot because it encapsulates the feelings of a minority party member in an opposing party state. People want their votes to count! And so do I. I want my vote to count, no matter what the odds are against me within my state, I want my vote to count on the national scale, not just within the state. The Electoral College is outdated and does not meet the needs of the popular vote.

  32. Emily M. says:

    Emily M.
    The purpose of an electoral college is to accurately represent the American popular vote. In order to maintain civility and stability within the American society, electoral colleges must, of course, be preserved. The statutes it holds according to population are fair and just, making the concept even more agreeable. Another purpose, according to Benjamin Zycher, author of “Popular or not, Electoral College is beneficial”, is “… to provide candidates with incentives to broaden their geographic and political bases and to steer toward the center rather than the extremes of the political spectrum. This, the founders felt, would help reduce the sources of political strife and, in the extreme case, avoid civil war. They understood that passions and irrationalities can afflict mass decision-making under direct democracy.” With these two points alone, the necessity of an electoral college is clearly seen, because after all, isn’t America a democratic system where all views can be seen and all arguments listened to? Even though individual representation would be ideal, the amount of time it would take to register all the votes into a database large enough to store all of that information and to sort it would take so much longer than it already does. All in all, I believe that this electoral college system has worked for Americans all these years and should not be changed.

  33. govellieh says:

    The electoral college could be preserved, but only if significant changes are made. Currently, the system favors small states due to a minimum requirement of three electoral votes per state. This allows smaller states to obtain more electoral votes per voter. A system that is supposed to accurately reflect the opinion of the masses cannot have such an obvious flaw. If this issue is not resolvable- the electoral college needs to be replaced with a more efficient method.

    (source: http://law.marquette.edu)

  34. Courtney H says:

    The electoral college has always had flaws regarding the accuracy of reflecting the popular vote but this has become archaic and outdated thanks to modern progress in technology and communication. We need to educate the public about the electoral process and work to develop an agreeable reformation. If we can send a man to the moon and a telephone/computer in a watch, surely we can figure out an effect and direct way of counting american votes.

  35. jmorton14 says:

    Within the system of the Electoral College, i think it actually hinders the American population, this because the obvious fact that the president of our country is not directly elected from the population. Because of this flawed system a minority president could be elected, and there are more people within the country who did not want that person to be president of the United States. Another major problem is that the Electoral College can, and does turn many American voters away from the polls. This is because parts of the American population believe that their vote does not really matter. People could feel this way because the actual majority does not elect the president, but actually the individual states. If a person lived in a state that was extremely Republican, they might be deterred from voting because within that state the Republican party is going to win and his/her vote has practically vanished after that.

    Source: http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php
    Josh M

  36. Annie H. says:

    The pros of keeping the Electoral College out weigh the cons. The Electoral College helps ensure that the winning candidate has support from all different geographic areas of the United States, that voter fraud only affects the vote at the state level and not the national level, and that the two party system continues to function with out the introduction of a new party. The only real con of the Electoral College is that the loser of the popular vote can be the winner of the electoral vote; this has only happened three times in history and only one time can the Electoral College be blamed.
    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/1991/12/25/opinion/l-we-should-keep-the-electoral-college-637191.html

  37. bailey12013 says:

    I believe the Electoral College is an extremely outdated system that needs to abolished. To me a system that better represents the opinion of the states should be used, like a winner take all system in which popular voting is involved. I believe this is a very unfair system to the larger states because the Electoral College favors the smaller states. For instance, “consider this: California, with 29,760,021 residents, has 54 electoral votes, or about 551,000 people per elector. Wyoming, with 453,588 people, has three electoral votes, or about 152,000 people per elector.” This means that a Wyoming resident has more than three times the voting power than a resident in California and Wyoming is much much smaller than California! Another problem is that traditionally a candidate will receive all of the electoral votes for that state. For example, “if 5,000,000 Californians vote for Candidate A and 4,999,999 Californians vote for Candidate B, Candidate A would receive all of California’s 54 electoral votes, and Candidate B would receive none!” This exemplifies they great unfairness within this system. Although there are many more reasons, these are the few that have made me disagree with the Electoral College system.
    http://how-does-the-electoral-college-work.blogspot.com/2009/12/advantages-disadvantages-of-electoral.html
    http://tech.mit.edu/V112/N15/le.15o.html
    Bailey A

    • Sydney S says:

      I could not agree more with Bailey! The facts are proved within the numbers that the votes of Americans are really not equal: voters from different states have unbalanced weight of votes due to the population, number of electoral votes, and size of state. With the electoral college in place, it is almost virtually impossible for a minority or third party to receive the presidency. Because it is so difficult for them to receive the majority vote in a state, they consistently fail to receive any electoral votes. Without the electoral college system, this candidate could have a more realistic shot at winning through the popular vote. Many voters also feel as if their vote does not have a meaningful impact on the overall vote, causing a large amount of citizens to not even cast a vote; a more simple alternative is the popular vote being used for elections. I think as a separate compromise, it would be more reasonable to combine the ideas from the electoral college and the popular vote. By keeping the electoral votes per state, I personally think it would be more sensible to split the electoral votes at each state between candidates, depending on the percentage of votes received. This would be similar to a European way of government election affairs.

      Source: http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php

  38. Browning S says:

    The Electoral College causes more problems than it solves. There have been several presidential candidates who have won the popular vote but not the presidency because of the Electoral College. This system is unfair because it also discourages people from voting if they believe that their state will vote in a certain direction. Although it does help out the smaller states, it still isn’t worth the flaws.

    • Jane S says:

      I agree with Browning. Although it has been a part of our country for many years, too many problems are caused by of the Electoral College. For example, it creates the possibility of electing a minority president, meaning that while the majority of American citizens may have voted for one candidate, the other may still become president because of the Electoral College. Opponents of the Electoral College are also concerned about its possible role in depressing voter turnout. The argument is that, since each state is entitled to the same number of electoral votes regardless of its voter turnout, there is no incentive in the states to get people to want to vote. If people think that there is a chance that their vote “will not count,” then they will not vote.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Personally, I don’t think that the Electoral Colleges accurately represent the will of the American people. Doing a bit more research on the topic, I discovered that I am not the only person with this opinion. In an article by William C. Kimberling, he addresses many of the issues caused by the Electoral Colleges. My favorite point that he makes is how the winner-take-all system basically makes the losing side of the state’s votes pointless. If fifty-one voters go Democrat and fifty go Republican, all of the electoral votes go to the Democratic party. Those fifty votes for the Republican party no longer matter which not only misrepresents many Americans but it also hurts the morale of voters. People aren’t going to take the time to vote if they feel that their vote is unimportant. The Electoral College is an outdated system that makes people feel that way.

  40. Ashley D says:

    The Electoral College offers more of a voice to smaller states that might be over looked in a regular vote, but I do not support this way of electing candidates. The thought of a candidate getting more votes than another, but losing in the ultimate run does not make sense to me. And this favors the Democratic Party, which isn’t fair to the Republicans or Liberals etc. We are already a divided country, so we should not let something like this divide us even more and favor one side over another.

  41. Abby G says:

    Abby G
    Althought the Electoral College system may be seen as an effective and fair way to elect the president, I believe it should no longer continue. This system causes problems concerning the popular vote, it generally favors the Democratic Party, and may cause citizens to question the significance and importance of their votes which may lead to them not showing up to the voting polls and being an engaged citizen.

  42. Corbin C says:

    I forgot to add my quote to my previous comment. "The system aims not just for the majority but rule by certain kinds of majorities. It encourages candidates to form coalitions of states with various political interests and cultures."(126) The candidates arent aiming for everyones vote they are aiming for the majority vote of certain group of people.

  43. Corbin C says:

    The electoral college is a rather effective way to elect the President. he only flaw that is has is the fact that if a candidate barely edges out his opponent in a state he gets every vote for that state. If each candidate got his or her vote if would likely be a closer race but more fair to both of them and to the public. Races would definetly have different outcomes.

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