By COURTNEY HINESLEY
KENNESAW, Ga. — Controversies still arise when it comes to using popular vote versusin favor of the Electoral College, although the Electoral College’s structure roots back to the centurial assembly system of the Roman Empire.
How the Electoral College works
The Electoral College is a process that was established by the founding fathers — in the Constitution — as a compromise to elect U.S. presidents by a vote cast by Congress, and by a popular vote cast by qualified citizens. To win the presidency, a candidate would need to obtain 270 electoral votes. Donald Trump earned 279.
Each state is allocated a number of electors equal to the number of senators, which is always two, plus the number of its U.S. representatives. These numbers are subject to change over the years depending on the size of each state’s population as determined in the census.
Practicality of changing Electoral College
“I prefer to keep the Electoral College because it’s history,” said Kyle Williams, an insurance broker for Surance America. “It’s how our system in the United States has always worked, and I personally don’t see the point in changing our ways now.”
Many citizens feel the same way, and, as a product of habit, it’s hard for others to embrace change.
The defense for the Electoral College is that it protects American federalism, giving each state the ability to design its own system for how its picks electors without federal government interference.
Only twice in the last century has there been attempts to block the Electoral College and bring negotiations to the table on new ways to elect the president.
According to Fact Check, there have been four times in history that a president has won without also winning the popular vote.
According to the U.S. Election Atlas, opponents of the Electoral College are concerned partially because they’re afraid it might decrease the voter turnout.
They argue there is no push to try to get voters out there to cast their votes since each state is entitled to a certain electoral vote number, regardless of voter turnout.
Defense of Electoral College
There are also opposing views and arguments against the popular vote.
“The danger of [national popular vote] is that it will undermine the complex and vital underpinnings of American democracy,” Curtis Gans wrote in a Huffington Post article.
There is also fear that small states would not benefit because the presidency would become a national campaign and the candidates would go towards bigger media markets and leave behind the small states and people.
Our founding fathers placed boundaries in an effort to balance power among the branches of federal government and the states. An action to redo our country’s election process would result in amending our constitution and a lot of people throw up fences to that idea.
A Gallup poll was done January 2013 to see whether citizens were in favor of abolishing the Electoral College, finding that citizens were in favor of abolishing it.
“I want to know that my vote matters and counts the way it should,” said Beth Norris, a native of Gwinnett County. “I rather know that the people chose, and not have electors and representatives ultimately determining the outcome once we’ve already voted based on the size of a state.”