why do we still use the electoral college
means people worldwideВare wondering how it came to happen. Here is a run-down of the Вand why it matters so much. How does the Electoral College system work? The US president is not directly chosen by voters, but by вelectorsв that people in a state vote for. The more people in a state, the more electors an area has. For example, Texas has a population of 25 million and is afforded 38 Electoral College votes, while Delaware has a population of 936,000 and has only three votes. There are 538 electors in total, corresponding to 435 members of Congress, 100 Senators and three additional electors for the District of Columbia. They will meet in their respective states on 19 December to ultimately elect the President. Almost every state chooses to allocate all its Electoral College votes to whoever comes in first place statewide, regardless of their margin of victory. Whoever gets to 270 electoral votes first в the majority of the 578 total votes в winsВthe election. And this time it was Mr Trump. Why is the Electoral College in place? The system was established to ensure regional balance в it makes it mathematically impossible for a candidate with large amounts of support in just one region to overwhelm the vote. What are the criticisms of the Electoral College? It renders safe states almost irrelevant to the result of the election: for example it did not matter if Ms Clinton had won a state by five or 40 per cent, she would still have got the same number of Electoral College votes.
The US election result always hinges on a handful of states that are politically divided, which some say is undemocratic. The swing states have a lot ofВpower because most of them choose to elect whoever is the state-wide winner, regardless of the margin they won by. Analysts also say the system favours smaller and more rural states, since the minimum number of electors a state can have is three в so states with very small populations are over-represented. And the system technically allows the electors to hijack the result, since it is not certain the electors will vote the way their state does. Although around 30 of the 50 states have passed laws that meanВtheir electors must vote according to the popular vote in their state в the punishment for not doing so is can merely be a fine. This means they could potentially defy the electorate's choice. Can a candidate who gets fewer voters than their opponent still become president? In 1800, 1824, 1976 and most recently in 2000, the Electoral College System has elected a different president to the popular vote. Al Gore won the nationwide vote by half a million votes in 2000 but was fourВElectoral College votes short of the presidency. George W Bush won in Florida by just 537 votes, meaning he had more Electoral College votes and seized the White House.
Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States of America. With a projected 306 electoral votes outnumbering Hillary Clinton s 232, he has a clear path to the White House.
However, Clinton leads the popular voter by a margin of over one million votes. The electoral college system is gruelingly outdated, and it needs to be updated to better reflect the outcome of the popular election. History continues to repeat itself. In all but one election (2004) since 1988, the Democrats have won the plurality. Clinton s margin is even smaller than that of Al Gore in the 2000 election. In both cases, the entire state of Florida contributed to each candidate s defeat. With a 0. 2 marginal difference, it is surprising that most of the electoral map is the color red. Still, the electoral college system has always operated on the same principle, and it continuously causes unrest each election for both major parties. The Electoral College was first proposed at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and was ratified with minor changes. While constituents now directly elect electors and electoral votes have been added with the addition of states to the country, the basic principle of the College remains intact. In modern elections, presidential electors are often pledged to vote for the party that nominated them, which usually leaves no room for adjustments in set states. Only two states of the 50 allow their electors to divide their votes: Nebraska and Maine. The votes are divided based on the outcome of the popular vote. In this election, three of Maine s votes went to Clinton and one was delegated to Trump.
Though more complicated, this method allows for a more accurate representation of the voters and better reflection of the popular vote. Trump won the crucial state of Florida by just over a one-point margin, so it is ridiculous that all 29 votes went to him. While gerrymandering could make divided votes ineffective, the votes would still be more representative. As Trump says, The system is rigged. He s right, government professor Bryan Jones said. The Electoral College favors smaller states that Republicans tend to carry and gives an advantage to the party. It generates winners who are unable to carry the will of the nation. Californias are worth nothing compared to the Wyomings or South Dakotas, Jones said. He thinks the nation should follow the example of other notable democracies and just count the votes. Trump may have been onto something in 2012 when he called the electoral college a disaster for democracy. His sentiments have perhaps changed after the events of Tuesday evening. The winner-take-all methodology of the system is ineffective because it permits a candidate with less votes to become elected. Those who are upset with the results of the election or merely discontent with the Electoral College system must push for reform so that future presidential elections can be more representative. Elkins is a journalism sophomore from Tyler. Follow him on Twitter.
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