2016-11-16 / Opinion

Keep The Electoral College

Every four years, it seems like we have a debate on the fairness of the Electoral College and calls to abolish it, especially when one candidate wins the public vote but another wins the Electoral College, as appears to have happened this year.

As a refresher, the Electoral College determines who the United States president and vice president will be. It’s made up of 538 electors– the total of the number of senators (100), representatives in the House (435), and electors in Washington, D.C. (3). In most states, whichever candidate gets the most votes of the public wins the electoral votes of that state. To win the presidency, the candidate must obtain 270 Electoral College votes, which represents the majority of the 538 votes.

Unofficially, Hillary Clinton appears to have won the public vote, while Donald Trump won the Electoral College– winning 30 states to 21 plus Washington, D.C., for Clinton.

Some people say we should elect the president and vice president based on the results of the public vote: whichever candidate wins the most votes wins the election.

However, this would give states with larger populations too much power. The Electoral College gives states with small populations the chance to have more of an equal say in presidential elections.

For example, the state of California alone tallied more than nine million votes for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Of those, almost six million votes were for Clinton.

Compare that to Ohio, where a little more than five million votes were cast for the two candidates combined.

If you are a presidential candidate, where would you put your energy and money? You would focus on the states with the largest populations, and forget about the rest of us. Simply put, the large states would take over.

Electoral votes mean the country is more accurately represented. California has 55 electoral votes; Ohio has 18. Winning a couple of the smaller states equals the electoral votes of one large state, which prevents large states from having too much sway in elections.

The Electoral College ensures presidential candidates must campaign in more states, large and small, asking for everyone’s votes.

Keep it the way it is.

Return to top