Electoral College and Direct Democracy

After the recent election results, people are bringing up their discontent once more about the Electoral College. After Trump received the majority of electoral votes, many people desired to institute national popular vote. In other words, they want to elect the new president by direct democracy, which counts each person’s vote in the nation until it reaches a majority (51% v 49% at the lowest). Progressives, Democrats, liberals, and other Clinton supporters mainly advocate for this. They would prefer to institute direct democracy in electing a candidate to presidency. Unfortunately, this goes against everything that the Framers tried to prevent in building a republic.

Electoral College

In the Electoral College system, each state will have a number of electors that corresponds to the amount of members in the House of Representatives and Senate in their state. 51 elections (counting District of Columbia) start in November, and that is where voters cast in their ballots to vote for the candidate they support. Whoever the state’s majority voters vote for (winner-take-all system for electoral votes), the candidate’s party will select the electors who will then cast in their votes for their party’s candidate in December [1]. As for its function, the Electoral College is a system that serves the purpose of suppressing the majority from stepping over the minority voters. Voters in larger and populated states will overtake the smaller and less populated states’ voices in elections if it were under the system of direct election. The Electoral College serves as a safeguard to prevent largely populated states from deciding the nation’s election results, giving a chance to all states to decide how the election will turn out. It is a way for larger and smaller states to have their interests represented even though electoral votes are weighted based on a state’s representation in Congress (more districts in larger states mean more electors). If people were able to vote based on individual votes, then candidates would not spend as much of their resources trying to persuade less populated states. Instead, they would advertise themselves in densely populated states such as California and New York to sway voters [2]. They would only need to reach a 51% consensus, and a majority of those voters may live in dense cities in larger states. This means that people living in certain states with certain ideologies and allegiances to their party will decide for the rest of other states in America. With the Electoral College system, the incentive structure changes and it allows for less populated states to have their voices represented by their candidate since candidates will have to convince smaller states and swing states to earn their electoral votes.

Errors of National Popular Voting

The problems of NPV are apparent when looking at the incentive structure that it begets. Many states with densely populated cities would have a bigger say over other states, and the incentive to attract more people to its state to gain an upper hand in influencing the election results. This can range from lowering voting age [3] and allowing more immigrants into their state [4]. Recounts would occur often on a national scale than electoral votes. In the recent election, people like Greg Phillips claimed that 3 million immigrants voting in the election process (highly doubt that this is a precise quantity) [5], and the governor of Virginia allowed 60,000 felons vote [6]. If we had a system of NPV, many states would have to recount and go through all the votes to determine who is a citizen and non-citizen. In the Electoral College, voter fraud may possibly affect the state’s electoral votes since it is contained in a particular district of a Congressman. In a direct democracy, it would affect the national voting result. It’s a costly procedure that can run up to millions of dollars per state [7]. Delays in the presidential results would occur, and the taxpayers would actually have to pay more for voting. The Electoral College, although not inherently perfect, solves these problems by reducing amount of recounts due to voter fraud, and to protect minority states’ interests. Overall, the system itself is corrupt because it incentivizes states to gain the most amounts of people to have larger representation. At this current juncture, people from low-trust cultures are immigrating in large numbers with most of them destroying social trust within the nation, and demanding for ever larger government involvement. This problem could exacerbate if we allowed for an NPV system to replace the Electoral College system.

Concluding Remarks

As a result, the Electoral College system has resulted in preserving state sovereignty by weighing their votes in terms of electoral votes and to uphold the values of a republic. The Founding Fathers were skeptical of pure democracy and the incentives that it creates. Many people will find this hard to believe since they all believe that upholding the values of democracy is what creates a civilization. Upholding liberty, individuality, rule of law, common law, and values of Western civilization is what kept this country together.

Sources:

  1. https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/key-dates.html
  2. http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/10/destroying-the-electoral-college-the-anti-federalist-national-popular-vote-scheme
  3. https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/how-electoral-college-works-why-it-works-well
  4. http://www.fairus.org/issue/noncitizens-voting-violations-and-u-s-elections
  5. http://www.illegalaliencrimereport.com/uncategorized/report-more-than-3-million-illegal-aliens-voted-for-hillary/
  6. http://dailycaller.com/2016/11/06/exclusive-virginia-gov-pardons-60000-felons-enough-to-swing-election/
  7. http://www.cagw.org/media/press-releases/election-recount-costly-many-ways
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