What is the Electoral College?
If you are a citizen of the United States of America, 18 years of age or above, you have the right to cast your vote in the presidential elections. However, you are not voting directly for the presidential candidate favored by you. Instead, you are electing a set of electors. These electors then have the responsibility to cast their votes and decide who will be the next president of the United States of America.
Apart from the United States of America, the principle of the Electoral College is followed in various other countries viz France, Ireland, Myanmar, and more.
There can be two questions that might hit your mind. Is the judgment delivered by the Electoral Colleges always aligned with the popular public opinion? Should we abolish the electoral college? In the sections below, we are going to try answering these questions for you.
Electoral College – Pros & Cons
The population is divided on the opinion of whether or not the Electoral College should be abolished. According to some, it’s the key to good politics while some state that it makes them feel that their vote has got no relevance. Let us have a look at some pros and cons of the Electoral College.
- Taking the United States of America into account, there are densely populated areas like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and more. If the Electoral College is abolished and the presidential elections rely on only the popular vote; then the candidates would have no reason to consider the woes of small and sparsely populated states. With the Electoral College in the picture, candidates have to consider each state, therefore, giving the small states a weight equal to the densely populated states in the election process.
- Electoral College makes it clear for the presidential candidate that if he/she wants to register a win, they have to acquire support from all the regions. This helps build a unified national opinion thereby providing a widely accepted result. Moreover, if voting issues do come into the picture, there is no need to go for a nationwide recount as the recount is necessary only in the state where voting issues have surfaced.
- A majority of the people believe that with the Electoral College in place, their votes don’t matter thereby affecting the overall voter participation in the elections. Abolishing the Electoral College will boost the morale of the citizens and inspire them to come forward to cast their vote as now their vote can have a direct impact on the election result.
- In the United States of America, due to the Electoral College in place, the voters living in the Swing States like Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, etc., get a major chunk of the attention. The presidential candidates pay attention to these limited number of battleground states as they can swing one way or the other.
- It has happened that the decision of the Electoral College clashed with the popular vote. In the United States of America, in 2000, Al Gore was the clear winner of the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. Similarly, in 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election based on electoral votes. So, it is fair to say that the Electoral College may ignore the popular opinion and the will of the people. Again, these kinds of happenings makes citizens feel that their vote doesn’t matter thereby further degrading the total engagement of the citizens in the political process.
- Electors, in many states, are not bound to vote keeping in mind what the people living in the state wants. It is more of a tradition that electors cast their votes in the way their state want. Hence, there exists an incredible amount of chances that electors can go against the opinion of their state and give their vote to that candidate whom the people living in the state didn’t desire.
Conclusion – Should the Electoral College be abolished?
Certainly, the cons outweigh the pros. However, while a large chunk of the population feels that the Electoral College should be abolished, it is difficult to say whether that will happen shortly. But, movements are going on to bring reforms to the system of the Electoral College that could eliminate some of the cons listed above. However, only time has the answer to whether these reforms will come into play or not.