The Electoral College sharply influences presidential politics. When Americans go to the polls, their votes are counted and a winner declared. Right? – Wrong. The Electoral College still needs to cast its vote. Americans elect their President and vice president not by a national vote but by an indirect device known as the electoral college (Magleby, D. & Light, P. 2009, pg 192). The system has generated criticism and discussions about various reform proposals.
The framers of the U.S Constitution devised this system as a compromise for the presidential election process. They did not trust the choice of president to a direct vote of the people. Once again we arrive at checks and balance devised to stop mob rule and corruption. At the time, some politicians believed a purely popular election was too ...view middle of the document...
Several reform ideas have been suggested, for example; direct election with instant runoff voting and proportional allocation of electoral votes. The most frequently proposed reform is direct election. Presidents would be elected by the voters. With a direct vote, voters would rank their preferences rather than marking only one candidate. Instant runoff voting on a national scale has the potential to solve many of the current dilemmas introduced by the Electoral College as well as the problems introduced by some of the other alternatives. It would end the spoiler dynamic of third party and independent candidates and consistently produce a majority, nationwide winner (Fairvote.org. 2009).
Proportional allocation is a popular alternative; it splits each state’s electoral votes in accordance with their popular vote percentages. This way, a candidate who comes in second place in a state with 45% of the popular vote would receive 45% of the electoral votes from that state, instead of 0%. This system would greatly increase voter turnout and the representation of all parties in a state. It would also encourage candidates to campaign in all states rather than just those that are competitive (Fairvote.org. 2009).
The concerns raised by the American people about the system of the electoral college are not new and yet have not produced the change necessary. Any change to the process would need an amendment to the Constitution, which requires a two-thirds vote from Congress and then ratification by three-fourths of the states for it to become law (Dell, K. n.d.). Many people like the fact that the Electoral College reflects the federal nature of the United States and resist efforts to abolish it as an attack on federalism and the powers of the states (Lublin, D. 2008).