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Should The Electoral College Be Reformed?

2453 words - 10 pages

. Introduction
The method of electing the President and the Vice President of the United States of America is the Electoral College – an indirect voting system and not a national popular vote. This system was implemented by the Founding Fathers about 200 years ago (Shea 2005, 4-6)
In recent times the debate about whether the Electoral College is still an effective system considering the circumstances the United States has to face now, is arising more and more. “American society is highly polarized in its perception of the existing election system” (Belenky 2012, ix).
This paper has the aim to contrast the arguments against and in favor of the Electoral College and to demonstrate possible ...view middle of the document...

With a few exceptions (Maine and Nebraska) most states have a “winner-take-all” system. That means in 48 of 50 states the candidate with the simple majority gets all the electors, the votes for the opponent are cancelled. Therefore it happened in 2000 that George W. Bush won the election against Al Gore. There is no difference if a candidate wins a state with 50.1% or 99%, the same amount of votes are awarded. This leads to candidates winning some states by large pluralities and losing others by a small number of votes; a likely scenario for one candidate to win the popular vote while another wins the electoral vote (Office of the Federal Register 2013).
Because of recent divergence of the popular vote and the electoral vote, many people believe that the Electoral College should be reformed for a more proportionally representative system or abolished in favor of direct elections.

3. History and Background
In order to understand why the American presidential election process is as it is now, it is essential to understand the historical context.
The Founding Fathers had to solve a lot of difficulties.
At the time of the creation of the Electoral College, the United States consisted of 13 large and small states that strived to protect their own rights and powers and strived to avoid a central national government from growing too powerful. There were 4,000,000 people spread up and down one-thousand miles of the Atlantic seaboard, barely connected by transportation or communication. Therefore, information about presidential candidates was not available easily and candidates were not able to conduct an election campaign or advertise their ideas. The Framers of the Constitution were afraid that people in a direct popular vote would only vote for a “favorite son” from their own region, because they do not have sufficient information. Consequently they feared that always the largest, most populous state would decide who becomes President and the smaller ones do not have any chance.
Finally they chose an indirect election of the president through a College of Electors. The idea was that only some selected, intelligent and well informed people from each state should elect the President. This function can be compared with the selection of the Pope in the Roman Catholic Church, where a College of Cardinals has the responsibility. So the Founding Fathers considered this method the fairest and most effective system of electing a President in a democracy (Kimberling 1992, 1)

This process of electing the President and the Vice President of the United States is nowadays a rather complicated one. The Founding Fathers chose the Electoral College in 1787 but they could not suspect that political parties or communication networks play a role in the future.

4. Discussion
In this chapter the main arguments against and for the Electoral College are constituted.

4.1 Arguments against the Electoral College
Nowadays many critics of the Electoral...

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