Electoral College requires much-needed update

Electoral College requires much-needed update

Katie Whaley

The United States offers its citizens immense power and privilege, exemplified by the rights and liberties that individuals have. Unfortunately, this power becomes restricted when selecting the president due to the Electoral College
In the Electoral College, each state has a set number of votes equal to the number of their U.S. senators and representatives of the state. For a candidate to win the Electoral College, and, consequently the presidential election, he needs to receive the majority of the country’s electoral votes. This structure ignores the popular vote of the citizens, the candidate that the citizens themselves truly vote for, and sets up the argument for if the Electoral College or popular vote should decide the president-elect.
The Founding Fathers established the Electoral College because politicians were wary of leaving the election purely in the hands of the potentially uneducated people. The founders also objected to giving Congress the power to select the president, as they were afraid of big government control, and wanted to give more power to smaller states who feared their voices would be unheard.
Though the Electoral College worked during the conception of the country, it requires an update so that the voice of the citizens will be heard.
One of the main problems with the Electoral College is all or nothing system, where all the electoral votes from each state go to a single candidate, with the exception of Nebraska and Maine whose votes are representative of their local counties.
The all or nothing system fails to represent the minority parties in states, as citizens who represent third parties may not feel obligated to vote because they don’t believe they could make a difference. The all or nothing system decreases voter turnout and indirectly promotes the two majority parties.
Furthermore, come Election Day, which is when electors vote for the president and vice president, the votes of the electorate does not always represent the votes of the people. The Electoral College provides legislators the power to elect the president as “representatives of the people.” In reality, the popular vote merely becomes a footnote, and the president is not elected by the people, but by a complicated system that does not depict the wants of U.S. citizens.
Despite these concerns, the Electoral College has been in place for a long time and has concurred with the popular vote of the people. Now the question becomes why should it be challenged if it has worked for elections in the past?
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House and one of Donald Trump’s top surrogates, proposed changing the Electoral College system in 2014. Gingrich sent a letter to National Popular Vote, a nonpartisan group that promotes legislation to give the presidency to the candidate who wins the popular vote. In this letter, he described the United States as one of the most diverse nations in the world, and, as a result, a nation whose leader represents all of the people. He added that the Electoral College failed to reflect the country’s tremendous diversity and prevented a vote that was representative of the population. Picking a president by the popular vote instead of through the Electoral College, he asserted, would be more in sync with fundamental democratic principles.
If a former Speaker of the House is questioning the system that elects the most influential person of the United States because of a lack of equity, then shouldn’t we reconsider how we elect the president?
The Electoral College should not decide the next president of the United States, the popular vote should. The latter allows for the leader of the citizens of the United States to be elected by the people of the United States. Logically and intuitively, the popular vote simply makes sense.
There’s not much an individual citizen can do to change the American political process. The best thing one can do is to educate themselves on current topics and utilize their freedom to vote for the next president of the United States.