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The Electoral College is a group of selected voters who have the power to elect a candidate into a specific office. In the United States, the Electoral College is responsible for electing the president and vice president into the office (Sabato, 207). The constitution of the United States specifies the number of electors each state should have. Each of the state’s legislatures decides the manner of choosing its electors.
The electors have the task of casting votes for both the presidential candidate and the vice president. In the long run, the presidential candidate is usually not chosen by the majority vote but by the electors. The idea of Electoral College has elicited mixed feelings among political scientists, scholars and critiques. This paper discusses cases for and against the Electoral College in the United States.
Political analysts believe that the existence of the Electoral College has led to the development of the United States as a nation. This is because the Electoral College has led leaders to consider the less populous states in their campaigns and policymaking. Taking a case scenario where leaders were elected by popular votes, most of them would have assumed the less populous states and consider the urban states.
This means that the Electoral College prevents victory that is solely dependent on urban areas. Candidates are encouraged to take a much wider approach in their campaigns in order to win the elections. Therefore, due to the existence of the Electoral College, states that are less populous are being considered in policy making thus encouraging development throughout the United States.
Proponents believe that the Electoral College has enhanced the process of power separation in the government. The constitution was enacted to ensure that no single individual commanded a lot of power in the country. Therefore, the power of the government was separated into three branches: the judiciary, legislature, and the executive (Chang, 2007).
These branches provided a check to the idea of totalitarianism. According to the proponents, a president elected by popular vote asserts a popular support from the nation. This may lead to the president undermining the other branches of government such as the judiciary and the legislature.
However, the idea of an Electoral College is not without criticism. Critiques believe that the Electoral College bestows a lot of power to some states. Habitually, the candidate with the highest number of votes in a state receives the state’s entire electoral vote.
Critiques argue that this is wrong because some states have a history of consistently voting uniformly for either the Democrat party or the Republican Party. In cases where the state votes in a ‘blanket’ manner, candidates withdraw their attention from these states pay attention to the more populous states without a clear favorite.
Critiques have also argued that the idea of an electoral college discourages the voter turnout. This is because candidates with the highest proportion of votes in each state receive all the electoral votes especially in states where there is a clear favorite. In such cases, other voters usually feel that their votes will not have much impact. In most cases, candidates in states with a clear favorite do not campaign for voter turnout. The exception of this case can only be detected in the states with a large ‘swing’.
Different people have different opinions in cases concerning the Electoral College. Supporters believe that the Electoral College enhances the process of power separation. On the other hand, critiques believe that the process discourage voter turnout. The question of an electoral college has become a question of personal opinion and each person is entitled to his or her opinion on the matter.
Chang, S. (2007). Updating the Electoral College: The National Popular Vote Legislation. Harvard Journal on Legislation, 44(1), 205- 208.
Sabato, L. (2007). A More Perfect Constitution. New York: Walker Publishing Company.