By Emily Cousins | Staff Writer
The Electoral College is an outdated system that stifles what the people truly want and doesn’t encourage a high voter turnout. We need a change. We need to pass the National Popular Vote bill.
When the Electoral College is explained, people usually say this type of election helps give both high population and low population states a balanced vote for president. However, it is likely that it was also because the founding fathers didn’t believe most Americans would have the intelligence to pick the best candidate.
The founding fathers were white elite men who limited voting rights to men above age 21 who owned land. It wasn’t until the 14th Amendment was passed in 1868 that all white American men were granted full citizenship rights, which included voting rights.
Before there can be any criticisms made about the Electoral College, we need to understand how it works.
The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors. Each state gets however many people they have in the House of Representatives plus two to represent the Senators from each state. The electors vote in December and usually vote based on the state’s popular vote, but are not necessarily required to do so.
However, many states have requirements that electors vote based on the popular vote or they will be removed for voting improperly.
During election season, there are always discussions about swing states. These states will usually determine who wins the election, so candidates only heavily campaign there and don’t worry about the states that are already most likely to vote Republican or Democrat.
With this system, only a few states’ votes seem to make a difference, and many people in the rest of the country feel like their votes do not count because they know which way their state will vote already.
This is one of the reasons why the United States has a low voter turnout. In the 2016 presidential election, only 55.7% of the voting age population voted.
If people believe their votes don’t count, why would they bother investing and learning about politics? Why would they feel any need to engage on any deeper level of thought on politics if they already know which way their state will vote?
It’s extremely hard to encourage people to vote with the Electoral College system. The purpose of democracy is to allow the people to vote and choose who represents our country, not a separate group of people in December.
In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote while Donald Trump won the electoral votes. The people spoke, and our government failed to deliver who the people truly elected.
Whether everyone is “intelligent” enough to vote well is irrelevant. People in different communities have different needs, and elite people, no matter how much they research and study, will never truly understand the needs of poorer or more rural communities. The heart of democracy is the people, not politicians.
If the National Popular Vote bill is passed, every single vote would count. More people would be encouraged to vote and would be able to make a difference in elections.
United States officials should make it a priority to make sure voting is an easy and accessible option for all Americans, and allow each vote to count towards the president.
Even if you are feeling discouraged now about the Electoral College, please make sure you vote in the next election. It may feel like our votes cannot make a difference, but if we all collectively get out and vote, we can strive towards change and hope that soon, a bill will be passed to abolish the Electoral College.