The Electoral College: Top 3 Pros and Cons

Pro 1: The US Constitution established the Electoral College because the Founding Fathers thought it was the best method to choose the president.

The Electoral College system put the final decision in the hands of electors most likely to have the information necessary to make the best decision, instead of in the hands of uneducated voters. It limited the influence of states with larger populations. It served as a compromise between electing the president by popular vote and letting Congress choose the president.

Pro 2: The Electoral College ensures that all parts of the country are involved in selecting the President of the United States.

If the election depended only on the popular vote, then candidates could limit campaigning to heavily populated areas or specific regions. To win the election, presidential candidates need electoral votes from multiple regions. Therefore they build campaign platforms with a national focus. The winner will be serving the needs of the entire country. Without the Electoral College, rural areas and small towns would not be represented.

Pro 3: The Electoral College guarantees certainty to the outcome of the presidential election. If the election were based on popular vote, it would be possible for a candidate to receive the highest number of popular votes without actually getting 50 percent of the vote. The existence of the Electoral College eliminates demands for run-off elections.

In 227 years, the winner of the popular vote has lost the electoral vote only five times. This proves the system is working.

Con 1: The reasons the Founding Fathers created the Electoral College are no longer relevant.

Modern technology and political parties allow voters to become educated and to make informed decisions in a way that early Americans could not.

Members of the Electoral College are now selected by the political parties, and they are expected to vote along party lines.

Several voting laws that limited direct democracy in the Constitution have been modified or discarded throughout history—the Electoral College should also be discarded.

Con 2: The Electoral College gives too much power to “swing states” and allows the presidential election to be decided by a handful of states.

The two main political parties can usually count on winning the electoral votes in certain states without worrying about the actual popular vote totals. Because of the Electoral College, presidential candidates only need to campaign in a limited number of states that can swing the election one way or the other.

Con 3: The Electoral College ignores the will of the people. There are over 300 million people in the United States, but just 538 people decide who will be president. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than one million votes, yet still lost the election in the Electoral College.

Source: The Electoral College: Top 3 Pros and Cons
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