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Electoral College Reform

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Many American citizens are naïve on the function of the Electoral College since they judge in fault that they directly elect the president and vice president when in reality the “Electors” representing the candidates cast the Electoral College votes. The Electoral College has been in existence for over two hundred years and came to be as a compromise for misunderstanding of those that supported direct vote and those that had no faith in people’s vote. In the history of the Electoral College, many have proposed its elimination as a method of electing presidents and vice presidents. This therefore poses the question, “should the Electoral College still be preferred as the ideal method of electing the presidents and vice presidents or should it be eliminated?”

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As David Lublin argues, the Electoral College might be there for a longer time because amending the U.S constitution is not an easy task. This is because it requires U.S. congress first top pass the proposal by a two-thirds majority in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. Consequently, three- quarters of the states must endorse it. Currently, there is no consensus to support the abolishment of the Electoral College. Taking a case in 2000, many Democrats saw the loss of their candidate as catalyst to necessitate reforms while on the other hand, the Republicans view this as a way to discredit their victory.

Likewise, different states have many reasons to be against the ratification. Many opponents have “held that the Electoral College in several ways violated the principle of equal citizen representation” (Bugh 13). This is because small states receive rather unequal share of electoral votes since the number of electoral votes for each state are equivalent to the number of senators despite the population in the states. Besides, some states such as Ohio and Florida receive more attention from presidential candidates because they use the winner-take-all system to allocate electoral votes but Maine and Nebraska use the Congressional District method. The opponents of the system see this as a flaw but these states may not be willing to give the additional attention accorded to them by the presidential candidates.

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“Americans would prefer a direct national popular vote because they believe that system would be more democratic” (John 5). The change will not in any way be democratic because the elections are not a single state affair but there are 51 separate competitions in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. As a result, each state chooses the presidential and vice presidential candidates to get on their ballots. Therefore, there would be different names of candidates in different states. For example, the running mate Ralph Nader, a third-party candidate was not in the California ballot in 2004. For that reason, Americans would still not have a true national election where every voter has the same choice of candidates. As Thomas see it, it will be difficult to foresee the ultimate course of the National Popular Vote (NPV) system after a straightforward Electoral College success of Senator Obama in the 2008 presidential elections (26). In addition, Bugh disagrees with the popular vote’s elimination of federalism since it would destroy what is regarded as the heart of the U.S. constitutional order, the community.

Therefore, it’s clear that reforms in the Electoral College are far from being reached because of the political differences that would bring consensus to amend the constitution, bring voter equality in different states, and also small states unwillingness to relinquish their attention by the presidential candidates. Hence, an attempt to make changes will bring more problems than it could solve the problems already there.

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