Advantages and Disadvantages of The Electoral College

The electoral college is a system used to determine who the President and Vice President of the United States will be. It is made up of 538 electors, who based on the public vote, cast their areas vote for president. In the majority of states, whichever candidate gets the most votes, wins that states electoral votes. In order for a person to win presidency, they must obtain 270, or the majority, of the electoral college votes. Many people criticize the effectiveness and integrity of this system, saying that skews the actual election results. Let’s take a look at all of the advantages and disadvantages that are associated.

The Advantages of the Electoral College

1. Gives Smaller States A Voice
One of the reasons the electoral college was established in the first place was to allow states with small populations to have an equal say in the Presidential elections. This still holds true today. Without the electoral college these states would be completely ignored and obsolete when it comes to votes.

2. Provides Candidates Focus
The electoral voting system gives the candidates that are running for office a way to organize their campaigns. They know the sway that each state has, and how much time to spend campaigning there.

3. Avoids A Recount
A recount of an entire nation’s election would be a complete fiasco, and also increases the chances of fraud very significantly. The electoral college prevents this from happening.

4. Represents The Country As A Whole
Very large states could completely take over and run the election process. Electoral votes allow for the nation to be accurately represented.

The Disadvantages of the Electoral College

1. Individual Votes Don’t Matter
The idea of the electoral college isn’t necessarily a bad one, but it does make each vote seemingly irrelevant. This is because even if a state votes one way, the electoral college can vote another.

2. An Unfair Sway
Some votes are worth more electoral votes than others. This causes the candidates to focus their campaigns and efforts in these areas.

3. The Minority Can Win
The biggest flaw with the electoral college voting system is that the candidate with the most votes doesn’t always win. There have been multiple occasions where the minority vote has won presidency.

4. Overly Complicated
Many people cannot thoroughly understand how the electoral college works. This makes it difficult for many people to get excited about the presidential elections.

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Important Facts About The Electoral College

  • In the election of 1872 the electoral college electors voted for a dead man.
  • Nebraska and Maine do not give their electoral vote to the person with the most votes.
  • Al Gore, Richard Nixon, and Hubert Humphrey all lost the popular vote but won the election.
  • The Holy Roman Empire also used an electoral vote system.
  • The actual words “Electoral College” are no where in the Constitution.
  • There are 100 senators, 435 representatives in the House, and 3 electors for Washing, D.C. That make up the 538 electoral votes.
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