TIME FOR REFORM? CONSIDERING THE FAILURES OF THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
Description: This paper discusses the many shortcomings of the Electoral
College, and posits possible alternative electoral processes which likely be
Time for Reform?
Considering the failures of the Electoral College
A common misconception among American is that when they vote they elect the President. The truth is not
nearly this simple. What in fact happens when a person votes is that there vote goes for an Elector. This
Elector (who is selected by the respective state in which a vote is cast) casts ballots for two individuals, the
President and the Vice-President. Each state has the same number of electors as there are Senate and House
of Representative members for that State. When the voting has stopped the candidate who receives the
majority of the Electoral votes for a state receives all the electoral votes for that state.
All the votes are
transmitted to Washington, D.C. for tallying, and the candidate with the majority of the electoral votes wins
the presidency. If no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the responsibility of selecting the next
President falls upon the House of Representatives. This elaborate system of Presidential selection is thought
by many to be an 18th century anachronism (Hoxie p. 717), what it is in fact is the product of a 200 year old
debate over who should select the President and why.
In 1787, the Framers in their infinite wisdom, saw the need to respect the principles of both Federalists and
States Righters (republicans) (Hoxie p. 717). Summarily a compromise was struck between those who felt
Congress should select the President and those who felt the states should have a say. In 1788 the Electoral
College was indoctrinated and placed into operation. The College was...