Fixing the Electoral College


Courtesy of Creative Commons: The 2020 Election saw the passing of the National Popular Vote in Colorado.

Ian Cardenas, The Spartan Staff

  Once every four years in our country, we have an extremely important event, which will determine the direction which our nation will go for the next four years, the Presidential Election. Our country’s president is ultimately determined by the Electoral College. The Electoral College was established in the constitution, Article II Section I, stating;

  “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors…”

   Most people know what the college is, but why was it created? The Electoral College was part of a compromise between the delegates at the Philadelphia Convention, those who wanted Congress to elect the president, and those who wanted the people to determine the next president by vote. The Electoral College was also effected by slavery. In 1787, 40% of people living in the South were enslaved peoples, and this had an effect on how many electors slave states would hold. The resolution to this was ‘The Three-Fifths Compromise,’ where each enslaved person would count for three-fifths of a person. Another outdated reasoning behind the Electoral College is it is from a time where people weren’t so well educated, the literacy rate in our country was rather low, with only one in four people being literate, and some of the delegates at the Philadelphia Convention felt as though the average people were ‘too ignorant’ to make such a decision for themselves, resulting in the vote from the College being the final vote that decides, not the popular vote, although nowadays, in most states it is determined indirectly by that.

One of the problems with the Electoral College is that it can result in the election of a president which differs from the popular vote. For example, the 1888 election, when Grover Cleveland won the popular vote by 90,000, but lost the presidency to Benjamin Harrison. Another example, being most recently, the 2016 election, where Hilary Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million votes, but lost the electoral vote to Donald Trump, 304 to 227. These however, are not the only examples; this anomaly has occurred five times in our country’s 244 year history, three times in the 19th century, and twice in the 21st.

 So how can we fix this? I believe this can be fixed by the National Popular Vote compact, which has been adopted by the 15 states, including our own state of Colorado. The National Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement among US states and the District of Columbia to award all their electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote in all 50 states. Yet some aren’t so sure about this, Doherty student, Hayley Miller, is one, “The National Popular Vote probably won’t fix it completely, if there is enough participants and voters, maybe.”

 I however, do believe this compact could fix the main problem, being that a candidate can be elected without having won the popular vote. If every state adopted it, the people would truly have control over who becomes president, and thus, the direction of our country’s future.