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Shelby Helms
Mr. Campbell
English 1103
11 April 2016
The Electoral College: An Artifact of Time
The Electoral College has been around for years and it is the way in which we elect our
leaders. Some believe that it is the best way to vote, but some believe that it is outdated in
todays society. It seems as though a lot of people are undereducated about the electoral process.
According to U. S. Electoral College, Official - What Is the Electoral College? , The official
definition is The Electoral College process consists of the selection of the electors, the meeting
of the electors where they vote for President and Vice President, and the counting of the electoral
votes by Congress. What I would like to explore is whether or not the Electoral College is
relevant today? The pros and cons of keeping and getting rid of the Electoral College are highly
debated. Although actually changing the system is farfetched, it could possibly be worth it if it is
really seen as a negative thing. Although, the Electoral could be a wonderful thing in the eyes of
some that keeps the process in order and running smoothly. I want to show both sides of the
argument and help people to make their own decisions about whether or not the Electoral
College is relevant today.
The Electoral College was originally put into place because it was thought that the people
of the United States were not educated enough to vote. But is this really the case today since
people have access to magazines, newspapers and televisions? It is true that Under the Electoral
College, a candidate can lose the popular vote but win the electoral vote and become president.

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This has happened three times1876, 1888 and 2000and strikes many people as unfair. This
happened in the race between Al Gore and George W. Bush in 2000. Although nobody can prove
what is fair and what is not, it seems as though more of the population wanted Al Gore as
president but because of the Electoral College, George Bush took the Title of becoming the next
United States President. This is called the wrong choice theory because a lot of people feel
cheated when their candidate of choice does not win when they win the popular vote but not the
electoral vote. Although some felt cheated, others believe that this is the best way to have equal
representation and whoever wins the Electoral vote is the rightful winner.
Although a candidate losing the Electoral vote and winning the popular vote has
happened, it is really not common because it has only happened three times in our history. So,
most of the time the winner of the popular vote is also the winner of the Electoral vote.
Supporters of the Electoral College present that the problem has only occurred three times in our
entire United States history, so why change it? The If it aint broke dont fix it theory is
popular among supporters because they feel as if has done no harm to our voting process. The
system has been around since the beginning so it must be working decently enough to keep using
it. The framers of the constitution created it to protect the voting process and they would know
best about voting according to this theory. Why change something that is working and has been
working for a long time?
States also are split between which ones use the winner take all system and which ones
use the winner take all system and which ones use the proportional system. Most states have a
winner-take-all system that awards all electors to the winning presidential candidate. However,
Maine and Nebraska each have a variation of proportional representation.(National archives).
This means that Maine and Nebraska will take the mount of votes and a proportion of the

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electors will go toward one party and a proportion of the electors will be for the other party. This
way, the states will not give away all of their electoral votes to one party since a decent amount
of voters voted for the other candidate. It seems as though the proportional votes inch more in the
direction of a popular vote, but it could still does not give people the full democratic idea that the
popular vote does. But, it does give the people more of an ability to present their vote with
confidence that they will be heard, which is something that people who dislike the Electoral
College tend to feel.
According to Science Buzz, The mathematical advantage to the Electoral College
accumulates over the course of many, many elections. In any given year, you may not have any
power at all. If you live in a small state, you may go your entire life without having any influence
over the presidential election. This is one example of how people interpret the Electoral College
to have a negative impact on small states. Some people believe that it gives the people of small
states too much of a say while the author of this source feels that it does not give them a lot of
power because they have less delegates than larger states no matter how many people vote for
each candidate. If there was a popular vote, neither of these arguments could be used because
their voices would be heard one by one and they would not be represented too much or not
enough. Should people in these small states be punished because they live in a small state?
Should a democrat in Texas or a republican in New York feel as though their voices are not
heard?
Some believe that it was used as a way to manipulate the system to make sure the
candidate of choice was elected. In The Electoral College: a Misunderstood

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Institution, Danny M. Adkinson and Christopher Elliott state that It is believed that the system
was manipulated in 1800 in Virginia by adopting a winner take all system to make sure that
Thomas Jefferson won for their state.
Skeptical people feel that this is not a proper way to use the voting process and that the leaders of
our country should not be easily manipulated since they hold such a large role. It seems as
though leaders of our country should be put in fair and square. Although some people feel this
way, others believe that it is a great idea. Science Buzz states that The Electoral College forces
candidates to pay attention to all voters. They cant just focus on a few big cities. They have to
win entire states, and lots of em. This statement is true because if there was a popular vote,
candidates would most likely start to neglect small towns and only aim toward appealing to big
cities. The Electoral College also presents the people with a very clear outcome while the
popular vote can be closed and hard to determine as easily as determining each state.
The Electoral voting system causes the United States to have two broad parties while
other democracies tend to have multiple parties but they are very focused and narrow. It allows
us to have an easier choice in deciding what we agree with. We do not have to pick a candidate
for just one aspect of what they believe and the Electoral College keeps that concept afloat. We
can look at each party as a whole and decide whether or not we decide with their views. Most
democrats have similar beliefs in more government interference and more liberal social ideas.
Republicans tend to be more supporting of small government and stricter social ideas like being
pro-life and anti-legalization of marijuana. In other democracies you could have 12 different
parties and pick which idea you felt was the most appropriate. This could be difficult because
you could feel as though you agree with multiple ideas of different candidates but in the end you

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must choose one and so it seems as though your voice is not really being heard and efficient
ideas are not being put into place.
One of the main arguments for keeping it stated by David Stewart in Abolish the
Electoral College is that Recognizing the strong regional interests and loyalties which have
played so great a role in American history, proponents argue that the Electoral College system
contributes to the cohesiveness of the country be requiring a distribution of popular support to be
elected president, without such a mechanism, they point out, president would be selected either
through the domination of one populous region over the others or through the domination of
large metropolitan areas over the rural ones. Supporters know that the candidates most likely
will not take the time to campaign in places or help places that are more rural and less populated,
so abolishing the Electoral College would exclude smaller places and minorities. People in farm
country or in low income areas probably will not be reached if the populous areas take over the
election. Do we really want to exclude people from having their opinion heard?
Another side of the positive aspects of the electoral system is that it unites the states. The
states are seen as one in who they vote for, so they and others can see each state as one. During
the campaign they always reference different states and how they are voting. They also talk
about who is campaigning where and this would probably not be as important if we used a
popular vote. The history of how each state votes will be forever in the history in the United
States. For example, North Carolina went blue in 2008 when it typically goes red, this will
always be a part of state history for us. The Electoral College: a Misunderstood
Institution informs that States also control the Electoral College by how they allocate the vote.
This is referring to the winner-take-all system which shows how states stick together in how they
allocate the vote. Since the winner take- all system takes all votes and transfers them into one,

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their votes reflect the feelings of the majority of the state. If the states were using a popular vote
system, the states would not feel as connected because they would all be voting separately for the
candidate of their choice.
Abolish the Electoral College warns that Because each state's electoral vote total is
based on the number of its congressmen plus senators, less-populated states have a modest but
chronically exaggerated influence. This is another argument against the Electoral College.
Although an earlier argument pointed out that smaller states have less power, some people bring
up the opposite argument but are still against the Electoral College. Smaller states are meant to
be equally represented but should a state have a lot of influence if they are a very small state with
a small population? They do have a more modest vote compared to larger states but their
influence in exaggerated. Although the electoral votes are based upon a smaller amount electors
since the state is small, this may not be representative because the people of that small state may
not be voting very much so the electoral votes only represent the people that did go out and vote.
We do not know how the vote could turn out if it was not an electoral system. The people of
small states could go out and vote more if they think that their vote will actually make a large
difference. Without the Electoral College, the smaller states could make less of a difference in
the election because their votes could be more spread out among candiadates. This is a big part
of why a candidate can win the Electoral vote and lose the popular vote.
While the states are more connected with the electoral system, this can become a negative
because certain states can become safe states which means that they are almost always going
to vote for the same party. Abolish the Electoral College tells that Because most states
predictably will vote either Democratic or Republican, presidential campaigns ignore them, a
deeply alienating experience for the majority of citizens whose votes are taken for granted.

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People in states like those that are in the Deep South and the north get looked over a lot because
they are going to vote for that candidate anyway so the candidates do not feel the need to
campaign there. This is a sad part of the system because people get overlooked just because of
the state that they live in. If the popular vote was in place, candidates would probably need to
campaign in more places to try to get as many votes as possible, even in places with a lot of
voters that choose the opposite party. This could be a good thing because a candidate would not
be so sure about the votes that they would automatically get, and they would have to go out and
fight for votes in every state to ensure that they can get the maximum amount of votes possible.
According to The Electoral College: A Misunderstood Institution, there are errors
concerning how students are learning about the Electoral College from textbooks. Certain
textbooks state that the Constitution does not allow the President and vice president to be from
the same state, but the Constitution does prohibit an elector from casting both votes for
candidates from the same state. It does not eliminate the possibility that the president and the
vice president can be from the same state. It is also said in some texts that the twelfth amendment
is meant to oppose a presidential candidate ending up with an opposing presidential candidate as
a vice presidential running mate. This is actually not the case but it just tries to allocate which
votes were going toward the president and which votes were going toward the vice president. I
think that this can be a serious problem because people could be misinformed about politics from
an early age and carry those beliefs into adulthood. We are all voters so we should not be
carrying around false knowledge of information about politics. We need to be able to vote
correctly. That is why people must learn about politics/ the electoral system and make their own
opinions about what is right or wrong. You really do not know until you take initiative to really
find out what is going on.

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Science Buzz states that In most cases, the Electoral College forces candidates to win not
just a majority, but a super-majority. This means that the candidates do not have to just win the
majority of the votes but they have to win the majority of votes in every state or almost every
state which can possibly make it more challenging to do. This can make the election more
legitimate because the candidate has to win more than just a section of the country that is bound
to vote for them anyway. They have to worry about every state that is not completely safe and
work to earn their electoral votes. In big states it is harder to earn the electoral votes because
there are so many people and the people are usually voting for one of two candidates. The states
that could go either way have to go for one candidate. These are states that are not presumed to
vote for either party. It turns out that the candidate has to win more than just the majority of votes
in the country. This is most likely what the framers had in mind to make the vote so that the
uneducated could not rock the election too much. The candidates have more ground to cover in
this argument because if there was a popular vote, they believe that the candidate would focus
more on the bigger areas.
Whether or not people are for or against the Electoral College, I think that people still
should investigate this topic and become educated on politics. This is a widely used topic that so
many people misunderstand the purpose of. It is up to each person individually whether or not it
should be reconsidered in todays society. Are the people of our country still not educated enough
to decide on a leader with a popular vote? I think that the people of our country are able enough
to use a popular vote but maybe the Electoral College is a better representation of what states
want since it takes the majority of each state. The Electoral College has also been in place for so
long that it may be too difficult to change at this point. It is important to realize that these things
are okay to question and to investigate. I have been very curious about the Electoral College

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since I have been watching everything about the upcoming election. Since the Election is coming
up, I cannot help but wonder how things would be different if we were using a popular vote.
There would be a lot of changes that would have to be put into place. Although some of the ideas
are contradictory, those are the ideas out there that are for and against the electoral system and
my goal was to portray the ideas so that people could make their own decisions.

Works Cited
Adkison, Danny M, and Christopher Elliott. "The Electoral College: a Misunderstood
Institution. Ps:Political Science and Politics. 30.1 (1997):77-80. Print.
"Science Buzz." Arguments against the Electoral College. Science Museum of Minnesota, n.d.
Stewart, David. "Abolish the Electoral College." US News. U.S.News & World Report, n.d.
Web. 13 Mar. 2016.

Web. 16 Mar. 2016

"U. S. Electoral College, Official - What Is the Electoral College?" National Archives and
Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 13
Mar. 2016.