Carstens: Electoral College needs to be NO more


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A map of electoral votes in 2008. Since then, Iowa now has six electoral votes.

Courtney Carstens

The 2016 presidential race will come to an end during the next couple of months, yet many voters still do not know about the greatest American illusion. The illusion that I’m referring to is the belief that we actually vote for the president and vice president directly, when in reality we do not, and that’s a direct result of the electoral college.

The electoral college is a system that worked at the time of its founding in 1787 in spite of its lack of true democracy paired with the small number of people who had actually acquired a formal education.

This method came about after a lengthy debate of all of the different ways that a president could be elected, including charging Congress or the legislation with the monumental task. Ultimately, the suggestion of an electoral college was widely approved by the delegates. In a sense, this decision was a compromise — a way to meet in the middle between the general public and the higher up members of the government. However, now in 2016, this is a compromise that is no longer necessary. 

We are a nation with an educated populace that has access to vast technology to help us figure out what we do not know. The electoral college must go. It is an insult to our intelligence as a nation. We can decide for ourselves the fate of our country.

The Electoral College is a process that consists of electors from each state representing the majority of its state, according to the National Archives and Records Administration. The number of allocated electors per state depends on the number of members in the state’s congressional delegation. There is one for each member of the House of Representatives and two for each of the senators. It takes 270 out of 538 electors to win the presidency.

Must we be reminded that we are a democracy, and that the first line in the Declaration of Independence states ‘For the People, By the People …” That first line is proof we are a democracy. People have the right to vote and be a part of the federal and state governments, but that won’t happen as long as the electoral college in place. The electoral college is hindering the democracy.

In general, Americans are well educated, as 91 percent of our nation earns a high school diploma and 34 percent of people receive a bachelor’s degree, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. American citizens have the ability to make smart decisions that are right for our country.

Another problem with the system is the possibility that the true loser of the popular vote can win the electoral vote, the most recent example being the 2000 presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush. It was a popular belief that if there had been a proper recount, Bush would not have won the election. The majority of the population should be represented in the voting system, but this current model remains and does not truly represent the majority of the country. 

The electoral system was put in place at a time when it was needed, and it worked. The average citizen was not educated well enough to make a proper decision for his or her country, so a middle man between the general public and government officials made sense. But it no longer makes sense, and this barrier needs to be broken in order for us to build a stronger democracy.