Electoral College: Outdated and Inefficient


The Electoral College does not represent the votes of the American population.

Catherine Li, Student Life Editor

In 1787, the Electoral College was approved by the Constitutional Convention, and since then, it has not undergone any major changes. Founded during the era of slavery, the Electoral College is a reminder of America’s past injustices. Because of the Three-Fifths Compromise, which was an amendment that declared the slave population as three-fifths of their true population in regards to representation in congressional representation, the Electoral College granted southern slave states more electoral votes than a direct popular vote would have. Many controversial elections ended with a candidate winning the election by the standard of the Electoral College but losing the popular vote. These include John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush, and the most recent presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

The reason for such issues is due to the poorly established and outdated Electoral College because the Electoral College lets a candidate win with the minority of votes and allows voter discrimination based on his or her geographic location.

Under the Electoral College, it is mathematically possible that a candidate only needs to win 11 states to achieve 270 electoral votes. This means the candidate could win the presidency with only 23 percent of the popular vote. This also proves that a candidate can lose the popular vote by more than 10 million votes, but still win the Presidency. Furthermore, a candidate can win 20 million votes in the general election but win zero electoral votes, as happened to Ross Perot in 1992. Because this circumstance is even a possibility under the Electoral College, is not only frightening in its obvious failure to represent the vote of the American population but also shows that it must be reformed to fit society’s needs and find a competent president.

The Electoral College is also flawed in that votes are not equally dispersed. This is because candidates know some states will always be predominantly democratic or republican, so they only focus on “swing states” such as Florida and Ohio.

The Huffington Post states, “With the Electoral College, the value of a vote depends on what state a person lives in.”

For example, each vote cast in Wyoming is worth 3.6 times as much as a vote cast in California. This is because California is inherently democratic, so political candidates will not spend as much time campaigning there versus in Wyoming where campaigning determines whether or not it is majority democratic or republican.

This causes inequality as two-thirds of general election campaign events in the 2016 election were in just 6 states: Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan.

As unfair as it seems, the Electoral College is still in practice and has caused many unnecessary controversies over debates with simple solutions. In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote over Donald Trump by more than 2.8 million votes or 2.1 percent of the total votes. Under the Electoral College, however, Trump won. To prevent this from happening over and over again, the college needs to be reformed to where the election reflects complete democracy and popular opinion.

At the end of the day, the basis of determining who wins an election is simply finding the person who gets the most votes. The Electoral College is fundamentally flawed and breaches the fair, democratic process that the United States has worked so hard into establishing.