Post Classifieds

The electoral college no longer serves its purpose

By Carleton Whaley
On November 8, 2012

As proponents of the Electoral College will no doubt tell you, there is historical reason for its existence. It was designed for a time when the national government was still being formed, and states were distrustful, if not resentful, of a strong federal power. The original form of the electorate took into account the fact that there was no campaigning or political party system. The electorate were some of the only people that knew enough about candidates to accurately vote on them, because information was much harder to disperse back then.
Now, however, information is available at everyone's fingertips, 24/7. There is no shortage of political campaigning, as has been all too evident these past months, and statistics, figures and quotes can easily be found on any supportive or informational website devoted to politics and candidates. Going back to the "historical precedent" set by the College, when the government was in its inception, there were no reservations with changing its system. It underwent major overhaul after a mere four elections, and the version that exists today is, in fact, another version of the third Electoral College. It is true that, other than the election of 2000, it has been some time since there was a dramatic failing of the electorate system. However, if it was so willingly changed after each mistake, why do we seem to stagnate now? Why, when the overwhelming outcry of the people is to count the popular vote instead of following a flawed system?
Confidence has been shaken enough in the Electoral College that in this recent election there were an enormous amount of people that believed Gov. Mitt Romney would win the popular vote, but lose the electoral vote. While this did not happen, it is clear that an overwhelming amount of distrust and lack of faith in the electorate system has grown since the 2000 election and Supreme Court case of Bush v. Gore.
During the case, Justice Stevens, who dissented from the majority, said "Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's presidential election, the identity of the loser is pellucidly clear. It is the nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."
With the amount of opponents of the Electoral College, along with the Florida Supreme Court's failure to find an adequate solution in 2000, Stevens' statement seems all too true.
Why then, with everyone able to make their own intelligent decisions regarding the presidency, do we persist in keeping this outdated system? It is true that the decisions of the electorate mirror the popular vote most times. Whichever candidate wins, usually wins both, except for a few instances. Once again, proponents of the system say that this is a sign that it works, and should not be tampered with. I, and many people, disagree. If it has failed once, if the will of the people has even one time been denied, then it is a flawed system and must be done away with. While once necessary, it now exists out of self-preservation and does nothing for the people that they could not do for themselves.
It is, however, the responsibility of the American people as a whole to convey their wishes to Congress, and stop the abuse of our suffrage due to the Electoral College. With our entrance into the Information Age and the emergence of globalization, there is no reason that we cannot be trusted to make accurate, sensible decisions about candidates. There is no reason that any American should feel that their vote doesn't matter, as so many - especially new voters - claim. The inevitable future of the Electoral College is to be done away with as a more informed, independent voter population develops in America and demands recognition. When that happens, we will be one step closer to the truth of a republic as described by an amazing figure of history, Abraham Lincoln: "Of the people, by the people, for the people."
 


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