Is the Electoral College Beneficial?

Why the Electoral College Should Be Abolished.



A Map of the U.S. showing each state and the amount of electoral votes they get

In the 2016 United States Presidential Election Hillary Clinton received over two million more votes than her opposing candidate Donald Trump. So, now you may be asking yourself if that is indeed true then why did Donald Trump end up serving as our president? Well, that is all thanks to the formal process used to elect our nation’s president which is known as the Electoral College. The Electoral College is a body of people representing American citizens who formally cast votes in presidential elections. The number of electoral votes a state receives is based purely on population; however, each state automatically receives three votes regardless of population. In order for a presidential candidate to win, they must receive a minimum of 270 electoral votes out of 538 total.

This system was created by our Founding Fathers because they did not believe the average American citizen would be capable of making an agile choice when casting their vote for our nation’s president. Now, despite the fact that the electoral votes are the primary deciding factor in the election, the voting polls are still open to any registered voter who wishes to cast their vote. I believe this process in which we elect our nation’s leader is outdated and unfair.

I am a firm believer that the Electoral College should be abolished because it does not fit the definition of democracy, not everyone’s voice is heard and it decreases voter turnouts. The Electoral College is harming our nation, but by abolishing it we could strengthen ourselves as a nation and give “we the people” the voice we deserve. 

Inside The Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. (Anna Ward)


“Democracy /n/ – a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.”  We claim to be a nation of democracy, but how can we if our method for electing our nation’s president does not fit in with the definition of democracy? The definition of democracy clearly states that it is “ a system of government by the whole population or all eligible members of a state.” How can the Electoral College reflect those values of democracy when all eligible voters’ votes are not truly taken into account when selecting our nation’s president? If we truly are the democracy we claim to be, every vote cast should be counted in the presidential election and the final decision should not be based upon 538 electoral votes but rather upon the popular vote of the people.  

Not All Voices Are Being Heard

Another issue that relates to the Electoral College is that not everyone’s voice is heard on election day. 

The Washington Monument. (Anna Ward)

On Tuesday, November 8, 2016, a United States Presidential Election was held; this was a special election seeing as the candidate who received the popular vote didn’t actually end up winning the overall election. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton received 65,853,514 votes in total, beating her opponent Donald J. Trump by 2,868,686 votes. Now, even though Hilary got over two million more votes than her opponent, she was not considered the winner of the election due to the fact that she only received 227 electoral votes. Which, as I stated in my opening paragraph, is not enough to win the election; 270 votes is the minimum required number of electoral votes a candidate must receive in order to win the election.

This is not the only time an outcome like this has occurred during the 1992 Presidential election George Bush received the popular vote but his opponent Bill Clinton obtained the most electoral votes making him the official winner. The amount of electoral votes is based on population. So, where does that leave the states whose population might be lacking in comparison to others? Well, unfortunately, it seems as though they are almost left out of the election process. Yes, their electoral votes still count but even if you take a large majority of these smaller states and add up all their electoral votes it still wouldn’t be more than California, Texas, and Florida combined. These largely populated states seem to control the election– even if these states had the lowest voter turnouts, they still have more say in the election because they have the largest number of electoral votes. Which sadly means presidential candidates don’t focus on smaller states when running for office.  

Decrease In Voter Turnout

The final reason I feel as if the Electoral College should be abolished is that it decreases voter turnout rates. Say you are a Democratic resident of  Kentucky which is a Republican safe state. A safe state is a state that always votes for the same political party. So, no matter how you cast your vote, all of your state’s electoral votes will go towards the Republican candidate due to the winner-take-all rule. The winner-takes-all rule is a rule in which the candidate who receives a majority of a state’s votes will receive all of the state’s electoral votes. Every state within the U.S. follows this rule with the exception of Maine and Nebraska. This can all be very discouraging to some changing their desire to vote. Many people feel as if their vote doesn’t count and therefore don’t feel the need to vote. This ends up having a negative effect on the voter turnout decreasing it tremendously. People need to feel like they have a voice, they need to be inspired to go out to the polls and cast their vote but sadly the Electoral College seems to have the opposite effect on people especially our younger generations. The future of our nation lies within their hands and yet we lack the ability to make them feel inspired to participate in elections and be civically engaged. 

The Outside of the Washington Monument (Anna Ward)

Opposing Opinion

While there are many people fighting to abolish the Electoral College there are also many people on the opposite end of the spectrum that wish to keep the Electoral College. One of the main reasons the Electoral College was created was because our Founding Fathers believed that the average American citizen was not capable of making good political decisions due to the fact that many in their eyes were uneducated. It is now a federal law that all American citizens under the age of 18 must attend school. It is also a requirement for public school’s curriculum to include both a mandatory American history and a civics class. The issue of people being uneducated has essentially become irrelevant within the argument of whether or not the Electoral College should be abolished.

Some may also argue that it protects the interests of smaller states but I find that to be completely untrue. Some claim that it benefits the smaller states because regardless of their population they are guaranteed three electoral votes. Even though that sounds like a benefit people are failing to see the bigger picture even with the guaranteed three electoral votes the larger states still have more control because many of these larger states have more electoral votes than many smaller states combined. For example, California currently has 55 electoral votes which are more than Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Arizona, and Montana combined. So, regardless of the rule that each state gets at least three electoral votes the larger states still hold more power. Therefore, it doesn’t really protect the interest of smaller states. I can unequivocally see reasons for the Electoral College being useful in the past when pertaining to the issues of illiteracy but I fail to see how it helps us as a nation today. 

The Nation’s Capital building in Washington D.C. (Anna Ward)

The Electoral College is doing more harm than it is anything else seeing as it decreases voter turnout rates, takes away people’s voice, and doesn’t fit in with the definition of democracy. We have made a tremendous amount of changes to our constitution and governmental policies since our nation was first founded. These changes were not meant to weaken or harm us but to strengthen and better us as a nation and I believe this is the next step to becoming a well-founded nation of democracy. “We the people” have fought countless battles to obtain the right to vote and have finally been given the right by the constitution to voice our opinion and vote in elections but the Electoral College seems to cheat us of that right. Is this really what we as a nation have fought for?