Electoral College Strengths and Weaknesses

The Electoral College is an old and complicated system set up by the Founding Fathers to elect the Executive branch - Electoral College Strengths and Weaknesses introduction. It was created in order to put a layer in the system of electing president as they did not fully trust democracy. As a result, the outcome of the president election is not determined by simply adding the national vote of each of the candidates. Each state is allocated a number of ECVs, one for each senator and one for each congressman. For example California would receive 55 ECVs due to the fact that they have 53 reps and 2 senators.

Whichever candidate wins a majority of votes in a state, wins all of the states ECVs. The system proved to be a success since It requires candidates to concentrate on key groups of voters (men, women, ethnic groups, old, young, rich and poor all have different concerns) and to focus on all regions of the nation, with their distinct issues and needs. This will provide the nation with candidates who have the ability to address the majorities needs if not meet them.

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The Electoral College ensures that the States with the smallest populations can have a significant impact on the outcome of the election. While it is important to win large States, such as California and Texas, in a close race it is important not to neglect the small Sates. The 12 smallest states Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming together account for only 17 (of 435) representatives in the House. However, in the Electoral College the same states account for 41 electoral votes.

However this system has its flaws due to the fact that some states are solidly Democrat whilst others are solidly Republican, voters in these states are taken for granted resulting in little influence in the final result. Therefore, other states, such as swing states have a disproportionate influence over the result. For example in the last 10 elections Texas has voted for a Republican President with the exception of 1976 when a majority voted for a Democrat candidate.

Disproportionate influence may arise because all states must have at least three Electoral College votes making smaller states over represented in comparison to larger nes. This would mean that if California had proportional ECVs to the three give to Wyoming it would need 180 ECVs instead of 55. Additionally, if no party wins a majority of 270 votes or more the House of Representatives chooses the president and the Senate chooses the vice – president, each state receives one vote. It could be argue that this removes democracy and the choice of government may not be a representative of the people. However this has only ever happened twice (1801 and 1825), In 2000 George Bush nearly tied with Al Gore, had they tied it would have resulted in the same way.

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