The Electoral College includes the popularly elected representatives or the electors. These electors formally elect the president and the vice president especially in the United States. This has been the trend since 1964 where there have been five hundred and thirty eight electors in each presidential election. Actually electoral collage is an example of indirect elections.
Instead of then normal or direct voting of the president, the United States citizens vote for the electors. The electors are precisely free to vote for anyone qualified to be the president. Practically the same votes that would directly vote for the president, lead to the success of the presidential vote but trough the vote of the electors.
Under the electoral collage, the twelfth amendment provides for the electors to cast a single vote for the president and the vice president. It states the way election of the vice president and president takes place.
This form of election has brought a great argument among the American citizens. Some have considered Electoral College as intrinsically undemocratic. This is because it has given certain states greater abilities in the election of the president and the vice president. On the other hand, others have supported Electoral College by saying it is an important and distinguishing feature of federalism in the USA and that it protects the rights of the smaller states.
Even with the support of a certain percentage of the citizens and the politicians, the introduction of constitutional amendments towards the replacement of the Electoral College with a direct popular vote is an issue. The argument to replace the Electoral Collage with direct popular vote is still an issue up to date. Since the introduction of the argument in the congress, the proposal has never passed. This means a large percentage of American citizens and Politicians still prefer the Electoral College as a means of electing president and the vice president.
The background information of the Electoral Colleges states that, at the constitutional convention, delegates used the Virginia plan as the basis of dialogue, because Virginia delegation has made it first to propose. In the Virginia plan, the executive is elected by the legislature. The delegates from a majority of states agreed to this mode of elections. Nevertheless, the committee of eleven is formed to provide the mode of election and work out various issues.
With the electoral collage, selection of the presidential electors is in a basis of state-to-state. The law of the state usually determines this. The statewide popular vote is used by the state at the time of election to appoint the electors. Even though the ballot lists the names of the presidential candidates, voters from all the states actually choose the electors of their state when they vote for the president and the vice president. The presidential electors will in turn cast electoral votes for the two offices (president and the vice president). Even with the reason that the state officials calculate the aggregate national popular vote, does not mean the same determines the vice president.
For a candidate to win the presidency, he has to receive an absolute majority of the electoral votes, currently the votes should be (270). In cases where candidates do not attain a majority electoral vote, the decision will be differed to the congress. The House of Representatives will then select the president from the top three candidates, and then the senate selects the vice president from the top two candidates. In this selection, each state receives a single vote and an absolute majority of the states. This is estimated twenty-six is required to elect the president (How the Electoral Collage College Works Today, ¶ 8)
This system empowers smaller states, for in calculating the electoral votes per person, we find that such small states will have more electoral votes per person. This was to counter the fear that if the lager states would wield the power of electing a president, or say the executive, the leaders would neglect the smaller states. They would always remain steps behind the larger states in terms of development, because leaders would concentrate on the larger states. This is why a number of people still stick to electoral college system.
The Electoral College also helps people to wedge a national campaign to win more electoral votes. This will make the candidate focus on the whole nation other than where we have a large population only. In the artcle the “Pilloring Pillar of Political Stability” (Forbes 2007) says:
But all this anti-Electoral College agitation avoids the fundamental question: Should we keep the Electoral College?
The answer: Yes. This uniquely American institution serves our country extremely well. It forces serious candidates to wage national campaigns. One has to win a majority of electoral votes to capture the White House. Thus, regional or single-issue candidates have no hope of achieving victory. While most of us share basic principles, we are a diverse country in our interests and attitudes toward numerous issues. For example, the Republican Party of Iowa is keenly interested in social issues such as abortion and marriage. The New Hampshire Republican Party, however, is much more libertarian; it is more focused on taxes and beating back attempts to further regulate gun ownership. Abortion is the leading issue with only a relative handful of its party members (Forbes, 2007, ¶ 8).
The Electoral College gives disproportionate voting powers to some states. This is the smaller states that comprise of more electoral votes per person. Even though it is agued that the Electoral College system helps the smaller states, electoral colleges subtly vote in the popular pattern. Larger states have a greater voting potential. This makes them still have an advantage over the smaller states (Get Rid of the Electoral College, 2000).
Despite its intentions, this system has not succeeded in making all states to be a focus of the politicians during campaign. This is a clear show that they may not put their effort in building these states even after their elections. These are not necessarily the small states, but the states that are considered less competitive. The same system is clearly picture in the winner take it all policy. This where in a [particular state, the votes of the looser will not count in overall nations votes. This will still make hard for politicians who clearly now that they will not win in certain states to forfeit campaigning in the opponent’s states. The other problem is that it will cause a low voter turnout to be very low. This is by those citizens that know they are to vote for the candidate who is not popular in that state (Concerns with the Electoral College, 2002).
There is not law to bind the electors to choose the candidate from which they were elected. They too can choose in the way they wish. The luck of this law to confine them to vote in favor of their parties causes inconsistencies. The system will not accomplish what it was meant for. In some case therefore, it is very easy for them to choose a candidate that do have the popular favor.
This system has enforced the two-party system. This has in turn locked out all the rest of the interested parties. If they could come into the race, the main two tag them as spoilers. In this case, the citizens are left to choose from two candidates, who they may not fully prefer. This will force them to choose based on the lesser “devil”. “Few people will support a party that never wins, especially when they are supporting that party at the possible expense of their least favorite candidate taking power (as happened to Nader/Gore supporters in 2000 and Perot/Bush supporters in 1992)” (Concerns with the Electoral College, par 20).
The other issue with the system is that the winner can come from a party that has not been popular among the people. Since the use the mode of the winner take it all method, the popular vote will not count in cases where the race is very stiff. This is in cases where candidates are very close to one another. This has happened 16 times since the system was established. The winners have been candidates who did not gunner over 50% of the popular votes. In all this, cases more than 50% of the people did not prefer these candidates.
The system was established as an aristocratic safety net. Those people who are fearful of populist use the Electoral College to win their case. This is what its founders used to champion the interest of the elite. In that, they forgot the majority of the American people. The system is ironically democratic as seen from the people it has elected against the wish of many. In the article the Electoral College, Global Exchange (2000) says:
The institution was also intended as an aristocratic safety net. Always fearful of populist sentiments, the nation's founders created the Electoral College to serve as a last ditch defense for the country's elite. In case the elite did not like the people's choice for governor, it could use the electors to pick another candidate. It was wise, the Constitution's authors thought, to keep a little distance between the government and the governed (Global Excange, par 4).
From the above analysis, we see very little to ague for the Electoral College system. It is clearly seen that it has up to 16 times failed the people of America. It has not given the American people the president they really wanted. This has frustrated the efforts voters. With time people will give up voting. For the people of America to have a president of their own choice always, the Electoral College system must be abolished.