What Is the Electoral College, and Why Do We Use It?

Abhay Singh, Staff Writer

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After the big presidential election of 2016, the results revealed that the popular vote was won by the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, by a very close vote. The Electoral College votes went to the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. The 2016 election was very similar to the presidential election of 2000 because the popular vote was won by the Democratic candidate, Al Gore, but the Electoral College vote was won by Bush, who won the presidency. For the second time in 16 years, the vote of the people did not elect the President of the United States. Some people argue that the United States should use the popular vote instead of the complicated electoral college system to elect its leader in chief.

An electoral college is a process of choosing a president in an indirect way or an indirect democracy.  In each presidential election year, a group of candidates, or electors, is nominated by political parties and other groupings in each state, usually at a state party convention or by the party state committee. It is these elector-candidates, rather than the presidential and vice presidential nominees, for whom the people vote in the November election, after a party nominates their candidate for the  presidential election.

Each state is allotted a certain number of votes based on the state’s population. There are a total of 538 electoral votes, and each candidate needs a majority of the votes, at least 270 votes, to win the election.

The  Electoral College was created in 1787 by the framers of the U.S. Constitution as a compromise for the presidential election process. At the time, some politicians believed a purely popular election was too reckless and would give too much voting power to highly populated areas in which people were familiar with a presidential candidates.  The Electoral College was created for two reasons. The first purpose was to create a buffer between population and the selection of a President. This would give voting power to smaller states with lower populations. The second reason was that part of the structure of the government gave equal power to the smaller states.

To discuss the presidential election process further, Algonquin’s former history teacher and Trottier’s current Assistant Principal, Mr Hreschuk, and Trottier’s eighth grade social studies teacher, Mr. Basta, were interviewed.

When asked for his opinion on the Electoral College, Mr. Hreschuk said, “The electoral college is fair and the right way to choose president because it is made to benefit smaller states and the founding fathers did a great job making it.”

Mr. Basta had a similar opinion. He said, “The Electoral College is a fair way to elect president, and we should always have it.”

Therefore after taking opinions of experienced people and research, it seems that Electoral College is the best way to choose president. This system gives equal powers to states with different populations, and it serves as a check and balance to ensure a qualified candidate is elected as the President of the United States.