Close X

Our Blog

Electoral College Part II: Where does the Electoral College come from and why do we still have it?

Posted by Dev Sethi | Apr 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

Why do we have the Electoral College Still? Now that technology allows us to keep track of all the votes, is there a better method?

When the United States was first formed, the creation of the Electoral College (see Part I to learn about how the Electoral College works) for electing the President occurred for two main reasons. First, technology and transportation in the late 1800's was very limited. Therefore, a system where the states' Electors convened and voted for a President on their respective states' behalf created a more convenient forum for elections. Requiring the collection and tally for every citizen that voted was simply too impractical and inaccurate during a time where technology and transportation was restricted. Second, though early American ideology favored a democracy ("for the people, by the people"), it also favored a strong central government managed by intelligent minds. Thus, the Electoral College accomplished both of these goals: by allowing the states to determine their own process for selecting how their Electors are chosen, the system preserved the voice of the people while giving the power of the vote to minds that were rational enough to represent their respective states intelligently.

Today, some argue that the Electoral College should be preserved because of traditionalism: it is the way America has always done it. Now that technology allows the collection and tally of a popular vote, however, many question whether the Electoral College is still the most appropriate method for selecting the President. The majority of states' (48) "winner take all" method (See Part I) has been met with a lot of criticism because many argue that it is not an accurate account of how all of the citizens of a state want to be represented. For example, 1,230,111 people in Arizona voted for McCain and 1,034,707 voted for Obama in last year's election. Since McCain won the majority of the vote in Arizona, he received ALL 10 electoral votes from Arizona. In other words, at the end of the day, the 1,034,707 votes for Obama were irrelevant when applied to the Electoral College even though they accounted for 45% of the state's popular vote. Thus, 45% of Arizona's "voice" went completely unheard.

The Electoral College also discourages people to vote in states that are predominantly Republican or Democratic. Arizona, for example, is predominantly Republican, while California is predominantly Democratic. For that reason, Democrats in Arizona and Republicans in California are dissuaded from voting because they know that the opposing party will win the majority vote-and therefore all of the Electoral votes- in their state. Simply put, citizens that are a part of their state's minority party believe that their vote won't matter

Finally, the Electoral College allows states that aren't predominantly Republican or Democratic-also known as "battleground" states-with too much influence over the election. States that do not have a predominant allegiance to one party over the other get all of the attention and excitement, because in a close election, the battleground states hold the key in determining who will get elected. It is no coincidence that presidential candidates spend most of their time and attention during their campaign on these states.

If America adopted a popular vote method, every vote for the Republican candidate and every vote for the Democratic candidate would count regardless of the state where each voter lives. A popular vote would more likely result in an higher voter turnout and the selection of a President who was truly the choice of most citizens. If a popular vote were adopted, every citizen from every state would feel excited about voting and candidates would have to spend equal amounts of time and focus during election campaigns on each and every state in America.

About the Author

Dev Sethi

Dev Sethi litigates and tries a wide-range of complex injury and death cases throughout Arizona. He has Martindale Hubbell's highest rating, AV, and he is listed in "Best Lawyers." Dev is also recognized as an Arizona Super Lawyer in the area of plaintiff's products liability litigation.Dev has been at the forefront of auto product defect litigation. He played a key role in uncovering the Goodyear Load Range E tire scandal and worked to hold Ford Motor Company responsible for the danger posed by their now notorious 15-passenger vans. Dev is currently representing families in product liability suits against the nation's largest corporations including General Motors, Ford, Pentair Pools and Invacare.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian

Schmidt  20sethi 20and 20akmajian 20logo

Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian is one of the most experienced, successful personal injury law firms in the Tucson area. Established in 1995, our firm has a long history of success, as seen in our many victories.

Contact Us Today

Slider 3

Set up a free case evaluation with our firm today to get answers to all of your personal injury questions. Our Tucson personal injury attorneys truly care for each client and will provide the personal care and attention that you need during this difficult and painful time of your life, which is only part of what sets us apart.