The presidential elections are a long way off, and though some pundits are talking about the 2016 presidential contest, there is certainly a lull in news about the next race for the White House. With chatter at a minimum for the near future, it seems like as good a time as any to talk about the Electoral College.
Do you know that when you find time in your hectic schedule to stop by the local polling place to cast your vote for America’s chief that you aren’t actually voting for the candidate of your choice? You are actually voting for your state’s Electors. These Electors, through an American oddity known as the Electoral College, vote for the next president.
Our Founding Fathers were very wise, but they were not perfect. They created a system of government that has withstood over two-hundred sometimes tumultuous years of drastic change and evolution. However, changes have been made over the decades to correct a few of the flaws, and another change is long overdue. The Electoral College isn’t a nerdy college with an incredible physics department and an awful basketball team ; it is an archaic quirk from a time without dominant political parties and was meant to create a cleaner election process. However, it now causes more controversy and confusion than our Founding Fathers could have ever imagined. It is time for the United States to abolish this remnant of our distant past and install an election process where every citizen’s vote counts the same.
When the United States was formed, there was no radio, television, or Internet. There wasn’t even a Pony Express or a trans-continental train; news traveled very, very slowly. Our Founding Fathers felt that it was impractical and nearly impossible to hold an election in a vast country, collect the votes, and then transport them to the capital to be counted. The Electors were educated and worldly men, who understood politics far better than the average farmer or hick from the sticks. They were appointed by the states, and entrusted with the hopes and wishes of the average citizen, who neither had the time, the education, nor the inclination to comprehend the complexity of politics.
Not only has technology rendered the Electoral College obsolete, its flaws have become more apparent as population has increased exponentially in certain states. The Electoral College provides greater representation to states with smaller populations; Wyoming’s votes count more than the ones from California. Wyoming has three electoral votes ( two senators and one member of the House of Representatives) and about 576,000 residents. California has 55 electoral votes ( 2 senators and 53 members of the House of Representatives) and a population of 38 million. By dividing the population of each state by its electoral votes, we can determine that Wyoming has one electoral vote for every 192,000 citizens, while California has one electoral vote for approximately every 690,900 residents.
One man (or woman), one vote isn’t a good description of the Electoral College. The popular vote doesn’t matter, and it will continue to be irrelevant until we dump the Electoral College; like a naked Lena Dunham on Girls, the Electoral College has outlived it’s usefulness. Using only the popular vote to determine the winner of our presidential elections will not only make more sense, it will make every American’s vote equal and important.