By Mariel Gousios
The 2016 election was an extremely unique election for many reasons, one of them being that it was one of the rare times that a president won without getting a majority of the votes. The electoral college is what caused Donald Trump to get elected president over Hillary Clinton, even though she received almost 3 million more votes than him. It was at this time that many people noticed that the electoral college might be completely outdated, even though we continue to use it today. Continuing the use of the electoral college presents many problems, even if there were original positives to using it.
So, what exactly is the electoral college? The electoral college is the group of electors that vote on behalf of their states. Each state has its own number (the number is derived from the number of Senate and House of Representative members) and for the most of the states, all of their electoral votes go towards the candidate that wins the majority in that state. Basically, this means that the Americans who vote during their election don’t actually vote for the president, they vote to show the electors who they should vote for. This was put into place to avoid uneducated voters from being able to decide who gets elected president. Only educated electors would ultimately vote for the next president, which was supposed to prevent an unfit president from winning. The practicality of the electoral college diminishes as more and more voters are getting educated on the candidates with the help of media and technology spreading information. Present day Americans are no longer uneducated and uninformed, so rules that base off of this assumption need to change as we do.
Instead of ensuring that the president elected is capable of being president, the electoral college may decrease voter turnout. Those in predominantly blue or red states, who have a differing political party than that of their state, may be reluctant to vote if they feel that it won’t influence the election. Unfortunately, they are not very wrong. A Democratic voter in Alaska most likely won’t turn Alaska blue, considering it hasn’t voted blue since 1964. The Democrats’ votes in Alaska lose their value with a system such as the electoral college, where your location affects, in some sense, how much your vote is worth. Additionally, a Democatric voter in California is unlikely to have an immense effect because California has been Democratic so consistently. It’s unfavorable, but a reality. The impracticalities of the electoral college are part of the reason why it’s not very widespread throughout the world. Few countries use the electoral college to select officials, and an even smaller number use the electoral college for major elections such as presidents.
What would an election look like without the use of the electoral college? Well, imagine this: an election where you’re confident that no matter what candidate is elected, the will of the majority will be listened to and respected. There are countless sides to consider when discussing whether or not the electoral college should remain, but what does remain clear is that elections should align with the needs and wants of the people, the majority of people. Abolishing the electoral college ensures that the voice of the majority will be heard.