Electoral College votes: yay or nay?

A discussion of the controversial topic of popular votes versus the Electoral College votes.

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Electoral College votes: yay or nay?

Claudia Huggins, Asst. Features Editor

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Since 1788, the U.S. president or vice president has been appointed by the “people’s choice” 51 out of 55 contests. You may ask yourself: shouldn’t it be the people’s choice 55 out of 55 times? Well, four of those times, the Electoral College came into play providing results that were thoroughly debated.
Three of those four elections, 1876, 1888 and 2000, the chosen presidential candidate was not who the people had chosen by popular vote. The fourth time, in 1824, there was no Electoral College and the House of Representatives chose the president. For this very reason, the fact that the popular vote does not always choose who the president or vice president upsets many people.

The most recent election where the Electoral College selected the president was in 2000 when Republican George W. Bush ran against Democrat, and sitting Vice President, Al Gore. As everyone knows by now, Bush ended up winning in the 2000 election; however, although slim, Gore won the popular vote by 0.5 percent. Now, why was Bush elected? Bush, although losing the popular vote, did in fact win the electoral votes 271-266.
Accusations of voter fraud and disenfranchisement flooded the election as well as allegations of uncounted votes and unclear ballots taking part. Even after recounts and rulings being brought all the way to the Supreme Court, Bush stood as president of the United States, leaving citizens who wanted Gore as president in an outrage.

In the United States, we are a representative democracy, which by definition, represents the people and their votes and ultimately keeps the citizens in the power. Therefore, the people should be in power by choosing which candidate would be best fit to run the country as a whole. Having the Electoral College make the decision for the people, if they make the wrong one, defeats the entire purpose of having a representative democracy.

Another reason people can become angered over the Electoral College voting system is because of the way the votes for each state are ultimately counted. At the moment, it’s a “winner takes all” system, and many people oppose that.

For example, if 49 percent of the state votes for one candidate, but 51 percent vote for the other, the candidate with 49 percent will get none of the delegates for that state and the other candidate will get all of them. Many argue that each candidate should get every vote that is voted towards them.
All in all, many argue that the Electoral College is an old system that isn’t needed anymore. This system was created in 1787 when there was no technology and limited ways citizens could know exactly who was running for positions of authority in the government. Now, with television, cell phones, social media, news channels, debates, public appearances and so on, we, as people, can find out all we want about the candidate and make educated decisions as to who we would like to run the country.