In defense of the Electoral College

System of representing states still works


The Electoral College, a system in opposition to electing the President and Vice President by popular vote, was adopted during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Creators were worried that a voting system solely dependent on the national popular vote would not sufficiently represent the views of Americans.

To maintain representation, each state is assigned a number of electors based on the combined total of the state’s Representatives and Senators. When citizens cast their vote for the presidential election, they are not directly voting for that candidate, but rather for an elector who represents citizens as part of the Electoral College. In December, the electors will then vote for the popular candidate of those they represent. There are a total of 538 electoral votes, and a candidate must win by a majority of at least 270.

For a record 200 years, the Electoral College has operated as a group of selected officials who directly elect the president and contribute to the peaceful transfer of power. Despite this, some claim that the system is outdated and limits the power of democracy.

Foremost, the United States is a constitutional republic, and as stated in Article 4, Section 4 of the Constitution, “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican form of government…” Our founding fathers, the likes of James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, feared pure democracies as they had in their view, historically, led to tyrannical rule.

As Madison said, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.”

The electoral college protects against the tyranny of the majority, encourages increased coalition, and reduces voter fraud. As aforementioned, minority groups, like rural communities, would play less of a role in elections without the current system. This is because, when a majority vote is used, minority communities lose their voice. The Electoral College ensures that these populations are recognized, to the same extent that densely populated cities are.

Furthermore, the Electoral College maintains national campaigns and urges candidates to widen their support, rather than focusing on areas with the most voters. If the presidential election operated by a majority vote, President Donald Trump would spend all of his time in densely populated red states like Texas, and Joe Biden would constantly be campaigning in blue states like California.

Although the Electoral College was established in 1787, the issues it resolves would continue to exist today.

As our founding fathers said, “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” America, as a constitutional republic, with checks and balances such as the Electoral College, ensures that all citizens have a vote that is represented and protected.