Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   1 comment
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Getting Rid of the Electoral College by Keeping It

By       Message Alexander Belenky     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

 

 

As the 2008 election nears, many Americans express concerns about the rules of presidential elections.

The Founding Fathers devised the Electoral College as an "intermediate, independent Congress" to be appointed every four years to choose a President.

Yet, this election mechanism has transformed into an outlandish mathematical scheme, weirdly aggregating American votes, not cast for presidential candidates but determining which of these candidates wins.

Citizens from each state and DC vote only for competing slates of presidential electors. Though each elector from the winning slate is supposed to favor the presidential candidate heading the slate, it's not a must, attesting to the deliberative nature of the Electoral College's initial design.

This makes the election outcome dangerously dependent on the voting behavior of electors and leaves the country with two puzzling alternatives.

First, if, constitutionally, electors can favor whomever they want, then after 220 years, 538 state and DC electors still can substitute their own will for that of almost 200 million American voters.

Second, if all the electors from each slate had to follow the will of the state, then the states (and DC) rather than a college of electors would elect a President, and the states would have different numbers of electoral votes, reflecting the state’s population size.

But the Constitution allows the states to elect a President only in the House of Representatives, only according to the “one state, one vote” principle—guaranteeing the equal suffrage of states in electing a President in Congress (and in amending the Constitution)—and only if the Electoral College fails to elect a President.

The "winner-take-all" rule of awarding electoral votes makes many states "safe" for either major party candidate. This rule contributes to narrowing election campaigns to a "battleground minority" of the states and to keeping almost 45 percent of the electorate not interested in voting in presidential elections. A popular vote loser can win the Presidency by winning in a minority of the states, and a third-party candidate can affect the outcome without winning a single electoral vote.

Under the existing election rules, voting even for state electors isn’t constitutionally guaranteed to Americans, remaining, in fact, a privilege at any time revocable by the state legislature, as the Supreme Court reaffirmed in 2000.

Yet, the Electoral College was no more than part of a compromise, keeping states of free settlers together as a nation. The sense and the circumstances of the compromise suggest that the Founding Fathers might have expected new generations of Americans to propose a better election system or at least a better compromise in electing a President.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

Alexander S. Belenky is the author of the books "Extreme Outcomes of US Presidential Elections" (2003), "Winning the US Presidency: Rules of the Game and Playing by the Rules" (2004), and "How America Chooses Its Presidents" (2007). He is Guest (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon



Go To Commenting
/* The Petition Site */
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Should voters care about the rules for electing a U.S. President?

Getting Rid of the Electoral College by Keeping It