There were 158 million Americans who voted in the past 2020 election but only 538 votes decided our next president. The Electoral College was established in our Constitution in 1804 and was created by the Founding Fathers. The way the system works is there are 538 electoral votes among all the 50 states and it takes 270 votes for a candidate to win. We the people do not vote directly for the president but we are voting for a group of “faithful” electors who then cast their votes to where their states electoral votes should go to. The Founding Fathers compromised for the Electoral College over a Popular Vote because the system was made in a time where the US government did not fully trust their citizens on making important decisions such as electing the next president. America prides itself on having a working democratic country/government but one of its most crucial systems strips the democratic label away. One of the definitions of democracy is “rule of the majority”(Merriam-Webster.com). This obviously does not apply to the Electoral College because it has been shown many times throughout history that the country's popular vote or majority vote doesn't really matter. This system restricts the people's power in such a major decision so why isn’t there some kind of change. The Electoral College has been tarnishing the principles of democracy because it unfairly represents each individual's vote, it shows the amount of trust the government has in the people, its history is tied to slavery, therefore the Electoral College needs to be abolished
A big flaw that the Electoral College consists of is the amount of power swing states have in a presidential election.”The two main political parties can count on winning the electoral votes in certain states, such as California for the Democratic Party and Indiana for the Republican Party, without worrying about the actual popular vote totals. Because of the Electoral College, presidential candidates only need to pay attention to a limited number of states that can swing one way or the other”(Vox.com). The system creates an unbalance of power between all the states where the swing states hold all the power on their shoulders. From this it creates voter suppression in the states because the people believe that their vote doesn't matter. The only votes they believe matters are the swing states and if this mentality spreads among the people then predictions/outcomes of elections can drastically change. In democratic elections the people should hold all the power and must not need to feel like their vote doesn't matter. A prime example of the Electoral College defying the principles of democracy is in the presidential election of Trump versus Hillary.”Clinton’s final tally came in at 65,844,610, compared to Donald Trump’s 62,979,636, with a difference of 2,864,974….Although Clinton captured nearly as many votes as Barack Obama did to win in 2012 (65,915,795), she lost the electoral college by a wide margin, clocking in at only 227 votes compared to Trump’s 304”(Time.com). Although Hillary Clinton had 2 million more votes than Donald Trump she still lost because of the Electoral College. An event where the candidate who wins the election but does not win the popular vote has happened 4 other times in 1824,1876,1888,and 2000. This shows that someone's vote can be worth more than others due to the population of the state they live in. This goes directly against our democratic system where every individual has an equal representation in our elections. The saying “ One-person, One-vote” does not apply to the Electoral College system and that is morally and lawfully wrong. If the Election system was a popular vote then everyone's vote would be equal(which it should be) and the representation in power of the states would be balanced. It would create a fair playing field for all the candidates to campaign where they want and speak their ideas without preaching to the choir.
The main purpose for the Founding Fathers creating the Electoral College was to try and combat against uneducated voters. This system placed the power onto educated people who were called electors to really decide the fate of the election. As society transitions into a technological age the excuse for having uneducated voters starts to decline. This is due to “Modern technology and political parties allows voters to get necessary information to make informed decisions in a way that could not have been foreseen by the Founding Fathers”(ProCon.org). It is clear that the Founding Fathers did not anticipate for information to be so accessible to the people. Those who do have access to information and knowledge from the internet can finally be labeled educated and have more power in the electoral system,right? No, the people who are finally educated still have the same amount of power as they would if they were voting 200 years ago. This purpose for the Electoral College existing is no longer relevant anymore because of how available knowledge is on the internet with just a couple of clicks. Popular vote or majority rules is a very easy form of making decisions that we use on a daily basis and in many parts of the government. Many government systems have ”several voting laws that limited direct democracy in the Constitution have been modified or discarded throughout history, so should the Electoral College. As a result of Constitutional amendments, women and former slaves were given the right to vote, and Senators, once appointed by state legislatures, are now elected directly by popular vote”(Factcheck.org). The use of a direct democracy is becoming more prevalent in our Constitution and it is shown throughout history that it has brought good outcomes. Although numerous things in the government have been modified to be closer to a democracy the Electoral College has not been touched. The process in which we pick our president has not been reformed in any way to be suitable for our time. It’s reasons to exist and perform its job are stuck 200 years ago.
One reason the Electoral College was made in the first place was to take advantage of the millions of slaves the South owned. James Madison did not support the NPV(National Popular Vote) because “The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes”(Madison). The population of the Northern states were far greater than the Southern states therefore allowing the North to always win the elections. The South did not approve so they wanted to exploit their millions of slaves in any way they could. They created the Electoral College in order to overtake the amount of power they have in elections. The Electoral College’s history is strongly linked to slavery and racism against Africans. During the process of implementing slavery they came across the” Three-fifths compromise” which ruled that each slave would count as ⅗ of a person in representation and taxation. This was a very racist and manipulative policy that allowed the South to obtain more power over the North by making their population larger. During the 1800s, the Electoral College was used and created to benefit regions with a high population of slaves letting them receive more points than they would without counting slaves. The enslaved were just property to white men but then were considered actually people through the Three-Fifths compromise , but only ⅗ of a person not for the benefit of the slaves but for the benefit of their owners. Although this disgusting policy was abolished in 1864, the Electoral College will forever be stained by the racist principles it was created on.
Many Americans may believe that the Popular Vote system is already implemented in our Presidential elections. This is “When citizens cast their ballots for president in the popular vote, they elect a slate of electors. Electors then cast the votes that decide who becomes president of the United States. Usually, electoral votes align with the popular vote in an election”(loc.gov). The Electors we vote for are supposed to obey the will of the people therefore making the Electoral College more of a democratic system. Alexander Hamilton said that electors are ”free from any sinister bias”, so they should do their job in voting with what the popular vote decides. While it may be true that we already utilize a Popular Vote system, using electors ruins any form of democracy in the Electoral College. There have been 165 cases of faithless electors who did not vote with the will of the people throughout US history. It creates the problem if we are really using a Popular Voting system because these faithless electors get in the way of that. Faithless Electors are a big flaw in the Electoral College system by undermining the will of the people and ultimately having the power to change the outcome of an election.
For more than 200 years the Electoral College has been deteriorating the core values of democracy that our country stands on. Due to the system being made so many years ago a lot of reasons why it was created is no longer relevant in our time. The Founding Fathers believed that their citizens were not educated enough to vote for a president but for how accessible information is now that problem is solved. The way the Electoral College works creates an unequal representation between the people all because of the population they live in. Everyone’s vote should be represented equally by law and by importance. During the 1800s African slaves were represented as ⅗ of a person only as a way to obtain more electoral votes in their region. These are what our beloved Electoral College is tied to and the government has not done anything to reform or eliminate this system in order for it to be most effective in the 21st century. There have been ”more than 700 proposals have been introduced in Congress to reform or eliminate the Electoral College”(archives.gov).