Electoral College Should be Replaced with Popular Vote

The Electoral College is a voting system where each state gets a certain number of electors based on its total number of representatives in Congress. Each elector casts one electoral vote to finalize the election. The candidate that gets more than half of the electoral votes, 270, wins the election. This system is undemocratic, racist, and should be replaced with the popular vote.

The definition of democracy according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “a government by the people; rule of the majority.” Unfortunately, the electoral college does not follow these same properties. It allows the vote of a Republican in a Democratic-controlled state to be counted as a Democrat vote or a Democrat in a Republican-controlled state to count as a Republican.  In those states where one side won by a landslide, those citizens must feel that their vote was pointless and they feel hopeless when voting. In 2016, the voter turnout for the U.S. was around 56% while other countries like Turkey, who use popular vote, had a 89% voter turnout. If it was changed to a popular vote majority, each vote would count as one vote, it would ultimately increase the voter turnout. It would not feel like votes were overturned or cast for a candidate the voter did not want to win. In Wyoming, where the popular vote is lower, each elector represents every 150,000 voters, where in California, each elector represents every 500,000 voters. A voters power should be equal and not have less power when voting because the voter lives in a more populated state.

Pro-electoral college believers sometimes say that “if it was all based on popular vote, then the most populated states such as Florida, California, New York, etc. would be ‘in control’, but this is simply not true. The logic around this concept is based on states, but land doesn’t vote, people do. States will not be ‘in charge’ because using the popular vote will get rid of the state-oriented voting system. There won’t be such a thing as ‘swing states,’ but only ‘swing people.’

The system of the Electoral College was also built on racist morals. When the system was being drawn up around 1804, the question of how slaves would be counted came up. The population in the northern and southern countries were about tied but a majority of the southerners were slaves and could not vote. Therefore, they came up with the 3/5 clause, which said that each slave counted as 3/5 of a vote, which gave southern states more political power and electoral votes. Akhil Reed Amar, an American legal scholar, said in an interview with Sean Illing for Voxmedia, “In a direct election system, the South would have lost every time because a huge percentage of its population was slaves, and slaves couldn’t vote. But an Electoral College allows states to count slaves, albeit at a discount (the three-fifths clause), and that’s what gave the South the inside track in presidential elections. And thus it’s no surprise that eight of the first nine presidential races were won by a Virginian. (Virginia was the most populous state at the time, and had a massive slave population that boosted its electoral vote count.)”

The popular vote focuses on the majority, as Democracy should be. It makes each vote equal one vote. This would encourage voter turnout since the political view of the overall state would not matter anymore. The decision of the President would be clear and just because the electors won’t have a vote.  Finally, every other Democracy uses popular vote.  In addition, the United States uses popular vote for every other voting instance and thus, it would be an easy switch from the Electoral College. 

Sources: https://www.pewresearch.org/