The Electoral College: It Has Got to Go

Aidan Roberts, writer

Many of the systems of the United States government in place today were a result of great debate by the founding fathers. Our bicameral legislature shows how they came together to make sure the states were represented on the national scale. Other compromises showed how our nation could come together despite differences to unify us under democracy. Unfortunately, not all of the compromises were for the better of the nation and its future.

The Electoral College was created in order to make sure that the people would make the “right” decision in electing its president. Electors are selected based on population combined with other factors to get a total number of 538 electors in a presidential election. Although it has been in place since the first presidential election, it needs to go.

As stated before, the original intention of the electoral college was to certify the election and make sure that the people made the correct choice. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 68, “The immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station”. This is a system that was made to be a safeguard; to make sure that the people didn’t elect someone unfit for the position. This is inherently undemocratic. If the people want to elect somebody unfit for the position, they should be able to, that is their right. It is also such an arbitrary definition of “unfit” for the position: how is unfit defined and who gets to define it? Of course that was the original intention of it, but it has come a long way since then. According to, all states but two have laws in place to force electors to vote with the popular vote of the state. The electoral college isn’t even being used for its original purpose anymore, so why is it still in place?

The Electoral College is also an incredibly unequal system. Currently, some votes are worth more than others depending on what state you live in. According to Washington University Professor Dale Durran, a vote in Wyoming weighs 2.97, the most out of any state. In the other top ten in weighted votes, all of them are states with five electoral votes or less. Now some might say that this is a good thing because smaller states should get compensation in representation for the election. While this thought works well with the bicameral legislature, it does not work at all with the election of the president. Why should some people’s votes be worth more than others just because they live in another state? It doesn’t make any sense. Federalism works well when you have many different representatives from different states. When it comes to one person representing the entire nation, it is in the best interest of the people to make sure every vote is equal.

It is clear that the Electoral College needs to go, and there are multiple options at our disposal. While there are many intriguing paths to go down, what simply needs to happen is the winner of the popular vote is selected as the president. According to Pew Research, 63% of Americans support changing to a popular vote system. Now there are some arguments against the popular vote system, although many of them I find to be weak. Many say that without the Electoral College, candidates would just go and campaign in the big cities and ignore everything else. This argument may sound logical, but it really is not founded in truth. According to the archived website National Popular Vote, the top 50 most populous cities in the US account for only 15% of the population. If one were to campaign only in the big cities they would easily lose the election. On the contrary, the Electoral College actually makes it so that candidates only have to campaign in swing states, because there are states that are simply gimme states depending on the party of the candidate.

The Electoral College is not only outdated, unequal, and undemocratic, but it is not even used the way it was originally intended. It has become this sort of awkward middle man that just makes it so that sometimes the person who wins the popular vote loses the election. A direct popular vote for president is not only the logical decision, but it is literally how every other political office is selected. It makes no sense to keep the Electoral College over a direct popular vote any longer.