America’s Electoral College: Time for it to go?
5 May, 2011 20:35
Is it time for America to scrap the Electoral College system. Critics argue the system prevents Presidents from being elected by a true majority and that changes are needed.
The Electoral College system is a process by which the US President is currently elected. Unlike other US election, a popular majority is not the final verdict in presidential vote counts. Under the Electoral College each state is awarded, based on their population size, a number of electoral votes. These electoral votes are cast by a state’s congressional representatives. Each representative votes for president based on how their state voted in the popular election. For example, if the people of one state vote in majority of a specific candidate that state’s representatives cast their votes for that candidate. In some cases, states split their electoral votes based on the percentage each candidate receives in their state. Through the Electoral College is quite possible that a President be elected by the College that did not win the majority of the popular vote – as was the case in the 2000 election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Critics argue the system is broken and needs to be replaced by a popular vote mechanism. Supporters of the Electoral College often contend the system allows for smaller states to be more adequately represented, because under a popular system more populous states like California and New York would dominate the election. Cynthia McKinney, a former US presidential candidate from the Green Party argued that under no circumstances is the Electoral College real democracy. “The better system would be for us to get rid of the Electoral College all together. The better system would be for us not to have these obstacles that exist for people to vote outside of the Democratic or Republican parties,” she said. “Those parties are status quo special interest parties that don’t reflect the interest or the will of voters.”McKinney argued the system is rife with corporate interests which buy elections in a very non-democratic way.“We do not have a democratic system in this country today,” she added. In addition, the electoral system beyond the Electoral College prevents adequate ballot access for all Americans and is driven by money. Those with more money have greater access and greater political opportunity. A system that sets caps on spending in politics and opens ballots up to more people would solve much of American’s electoral problems, McKinney argued.