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Does The Electoral College No Longer Work And Should We Make Changes?

Aug 17, 2007
In 2000 we have had the closest presidential election in the history of the United States. Vice President Al Gore has won the popular vote and yet fell short of victory by less than a thousand certified votes in the pivotal state of Florida. This means that under the system of the two hundred-year-old Electoral College, Texas Governor George Bush overcame the popular opinion of the entire United States to win the Electoral Vote.

Was this fair? Yes, because under the rules and laws established before this election was held the end result of Governor Bush winning the Electoral Vote is what determines the winner. As mandated in the United States Constitution and agreed upon by every state's legislative law one cannot change the rules after the fact just because the national popular vote winner lost. Unfortunately, that is not the shared opinion of so many others.

Now we hear the rising echo of irate citizens and politicians calling for the abolishment of the Electoral College. In it's antiquated format the popular vote winner can be beaten and "it's not right". Yet in order to do that we will have to rid ourselves of the ONLY true way for these United States to reflect "the will of the people" nationwide.

My suggestion is not to abolish the Electoral College and go solely with the popular vote. Rather, I suggest we need to tweak the system to better reflect the present and future structure of these United States. In order to do this we must first look at the history of the Electoral and why it appears to have become ill suited for our modern nation. Once that is accomplished I will humbly submit my suggestion for changes that need to be made.

The need for an Electoral College of voters arose when our founding fathers realized that the more dominantly populated states could perhaps ban together and literally control all of the elections and in essence, determine many advantages for their own self interests. How could we be called a United States when just four of the thirteen states could always determine who got any and every thing that they wanted or needed?

I suggest that they knew that "the will of the people" could never truly be reflected under a minority count of heavily populated states overwhelming the majority of states with less population but sharing an equal risk in governing this new republic. What they did was to allow each state to have Electors equal to their respective representatives within the Congress and Senate. In short, the states with less population were then equally more represented by their Electors during national elections.

What this meant was that the ability of the major population centers banding together to capture national elections and benefits was brought down to an equality that hasn't been fully realized during the two hundred years since it was originally created.

Yet even with such unprecedented wisdom as that that they exhibited two hundred years ago there was still this eventuality of our population centers growing large enough to force national election results and the future direction of these United States.

I personally feel that the main reason for this is they never would have imagined that this country would grow from thirteen states and 3.5 million people into the monstrous proportions that it has grown to in just two centuries.

In the two hundred years since the Electoral College was created the United States has blossomed from 13 states with just a little over 3.5 million people to 50 states with almost 300 million citizens. Currently there are twenty-six states, which have populations that exceed the entire combined population of all the thirteen original states.

I suggest that our forefathers would not only be amazed at how well their fledgling Constitution has governed these United States but they would also in their unparalleled wisdom, recognize how out of proportion our population has grown.

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, both Virginians, would probably be stunned to find that Virginia (the most populated of the thirteen original states) now ranks twelfth in rank among all the fifty states. This despite the fact that Virginia's population is ten times what it was when the Electoral College was first created.

Currently there are eleven states with enough Electoral Votes to override all votes of the other thirty-nine states and Washington DC. As in 1780, where just four states could out vote the other nine through the popular vote, there is an Electoral Vote imbalance that is being created by the main population centers within these eleven states.

The Vice President won the national popular vote by capturing just twenty states and Washington DC. That means that Governor Bush won the Electoral Vote by capturing the remaining thirty states and their Electors by a narrow margin. Yet the argument still persists with the wails and cries being trumpeted for a national popular vote to determine, "the will of the people".

This is where we can actually see how out-of-whack the Electoral College has become. The large population centers are dictating the outcome of not only state totals but also the national results. Which is what the Electoral system was created to prevent. With just the proper prodding or gifts any candidate can win the major city(s) within a state and capture the entire state Electoral.

In the 2000 Presidential Election this is evidenced in Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin. All ten of these states were won by the margins of their largest populated county. Which was high enough to defeat all the other counties within their respective states. The question comes from this, how can just the largest most populated county shadow the will of all of the other counties within these states?

It's the population, stupid! Yes, the same thing that compelled our founding fathers to create the Electoral College is now engulfing that same safeguard. I suggest that in all probability our population and growth alone is what may become the catalyst for the future failure of these United States.

So what do we do to license the Electoral College to once again maintain balance in our national elections? We should again look to our founding fathers to find the solution. When they created the Constitution they empowered us, their future citizens, with the ability to make changes through ratification. If they had felt so certain that their work was binding and without peril they would have set our covenants in stone.

That, they did not do. The most naked testimony to their wisdom is the fact that they knew that the United States would grow. They knew that changes would surely occur throughout time and a government would need to be able to adapt and reinvent itself when these changes came. Now is the time for changes to be made.
About the Author
John DeJong is the lead creative designer for NotMeUSA. He has been writing humor for over twenty-five years. All of the statistical charts and data can be viewed by visiting: www.notmeusa.com and clicking on the Electoral College Changes.
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