by Kate Billingsley
It is May 25, 1787. Americans travel in horse drawn carriages, and speak in Old English. The Constitutional Convention is taking place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The framers of the Constitution are meeting to discuss how to better the country and decide to create the electoral college system.
The electoral college is the 12th Amendment to the Constitution and was created to make voting in presidential elections “fair.” This amendment was implemented with the intention of only allowing wealthy, property owning, white men to vote.
Each state is given a number of electors, two of these are members of the Senate, the rest are from the House of Representatives, and are based on population.
That being said, each state has a different number of electors. For example, California, a state with a high population, has 55 electors, while Vermont, a state with a low population, only has three. The goal of each candidate is to get 270 out of 583 available electoral votes.
Due to the fact that each state has a different number of votes, candidates choose certain states to campaign heavily in. These are called swing states.
History and social studies teacher Douglas Pielmeier says “The electoral college steers the election to the largest states; moreover, the decision narrows to those states where the outcome is in doubt. These swing, or battleground, states decide the election giving a handful of states an out-sized influence on the election; therefore, campaigns focus on swing states reinforcing their importance.”
The system takes the popular vote and then delegates electoral college votes for the candidate that won the given state. All states have a winner take all system except for Nebraska and Maine, meaning, that all votes from a given state go to one candidate.
It is due to this winner take all system that the electoral college is a very controversial. The electoral college system is outdated, and is affecting the overall results of elections. Sophomore Chloe Hoang says “The electoral college is outdated and unfair. An alternative to it should be having the popular vote elect the president instead. The popular vote is more democratic and the people’s vote actually matters.”
However, some people believe the electoral college is very important in the electoral process. Sophomore Ahmed Gamblan says,“The electoral college is a fair and effective way to pick the president because it gives each state a fair vote based on their population.”
The electoral college was created so only educated landowners votes would count. In this day, everyone is capable to cast their own vote and be confident in their decision.
In both the 2000, and the 2016 elections, the popular vote has elected one candidate, while the electoral college voted another. Pielmeier added, “Our recent election highlighted this effect with the president-elect sweeping the battleground states and winning the White House despite losing the popular vote.” The president should be based on who the people want, the electoral college makes it so that only 583 people’s votes matter.
The electoral college system will remain controversial until a change is made. It’s 2016, Americans are capable of voting for their own president. This dated amendment needs to be changed so that every American feels their vote matters.