Why does the U. Why does the United States have an Electoral College when it would be so easy to directly elect a president, as we do for all the other political offices?
See Article History Electoral college, the system by which the president and vice president of the United States are chosen. It was devised by the framers of the United States Constitution to provide a method of election that was feasibledesirable, and consistent with a republican form of government.
For the results of U. History and operation During most of the Constitutional Conventionpresidential selection was vested in the legislature. The electoral college was proposed near the end of the convention by the Committee on Unfinished Parts, chaired by David Brearley of New Jerseyto provide a system that would select the most qualified president and vice president.
Historians have suggested a variety of reasons for the adoption of the electoral college, including concerns about the separation of powers and the relationship between the executive and legislative branches, the balance between small and large states, slaveryand the perceived dangers of direct democracy.
The Twenty-Third Amendmentadopted inprovided electoral college representation for Washington, D. The electors would then meet and vote for two people, at least one of whom could not be an inhabitant of their state.
The Twelfth Amendment requires a person to receive a majority of the electoral votes for Vice President for that person to be elected Vice President by the Electoral College. If no candidate for Vice President has a majority of the total votes, the Senate, with each Senator having one vote, chooses the . The official U.S. Electoral College web site, providing current information about the presidential election, information about the roles and responsibilities of state officials and Electors, instructions for state officials and Electors, the timeline of key dates for the presidential election, information about laws and legal requirements related to the . Votes cast by the people of the United States -- known as the "popular vote" -- are used to choose the president and vice president "indirectly" through the Electoral College. Popular votes cast in the presidential election are actually being cast for a number of electors.
Under the original plan, the person receiving the largest number of votes, provided it was a majority of the number of electors, would be elected president, and the person with the second largest number of votes would become vice president.
If no one received a majority, the presidency of the United States would be decided by the House of Representativesvoting by states and choosing from among the top five candidates in the electoral vote.
A tie for vice president would be broken by the Senate. The development of national political parties toward the end of the 18th century provided the new system with its first major challenge.
Informal congressional caucuses, organized along party lines, selected presidential nominees.
Electors, chosen by state legislatures mostly on the basis of partisan inclination, were not expected to exercise independent judgment when voting. Since the framers had not anticipated party-line voting and there was no mechanism for indicating a separate choice for president and vice president, the tie had to be broken by the Federalist -controlled House of Representatives.
The election of Jefferson after 36 ballots led to the adoption of the Twelfth Amendment inwhich specified separate ballots for president and vice president and reduced the number of candidates from which the House could choose from five to three.
The development of political parties coincided with the expansion of popular choice. By all states selected their electors by direct popular vote except South Carolinawhich did so only after the American Civil War. In choosing electors, most states adopted a general-ticket system in which slates of partisan electors were selected on the basis of a statewide vote.
Only Maine and Nebraska have chosen to deviate from this method, instead allocating electoral votes to the victor in each House district and a two-electoral-vote bonus to the statewide winner.
The winner-take-all system generally favoured major parties over minor parties, large states over small states, and cohesive voting groups concentrated in large states over those that were more diffusely dispersed across the country. Arguments for and against the electoral college One of the most troubling aspects of the electoral college system is the possibility that the winner might not be the candidate with the most popular votes.
Four presidents— Rutherford B. Hayes inBenjamin Harrison inGeorge W.
Bush inand Donald Trump in —were elected with fewer popular votes than their opponents, and Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams in the House of Representatives after winning a plurality of the popular and electoral vote in In 18 elections between andpresidents were elected without popular majorities—including Abraham Lincolnwho won election in with under 40 percent of the national vote.
During much of the 20th century, however, the effect of the general ticket system was to exaggerate the popular vote, not reverse it. For example, in Ronald Reagan won just over 50 percent of the popular vote and 91 percent of the electoral vote; in George Bush received 53 percent of the popular vote and 79 percent of the electoral vote; and in and William J.
Clinton won 43 and 49 percent of the popular vote, respectively, and 69 and 70 percent of the electoral vote. Third-party candidates with broad national support are generally penalized in the electoral college—as was Ross Perotwho won 19 percent of the popular vote in and no electoral votes—though candidates with geographically concentrated support—such as Dixiecrat candidate Strom Thurmondwho won 39 electoral votes in with just over 2 percent of the national vote—are occasionally able to win electoral votes.
The divergence between popular and electoral votes indicates some of the principal advantages and disadvantages of the electoral college system.
Many who favour the system maintain that it provides presidents with a special federative majority and a broad national mandate for governing, unifying the two major parties across the country and requiring broad geographic support to win the presidency.
In addition, they argue that the electoral college protects the interests of small states and sparsely populated areas, which they claim would be ignored if the president was directly elected.
Many opponents advocate eliminating the electoral college altogether and replacing it with a direct popular vote. Their position has been buttressed by public opinion polls, which regularly show that Americans prefer a popular vote to the electoral college system. Other possible reforms include a district plan, similar to those used in Maine and Nebraska, which would allocate electoral votes by legislative district rather than at the statewide level; and a proportional plan, which would assign electoral votes on the basis of the percentage of popular votes a candidate received.
Supporters of the electoral college contend that its longevity has proven its merit and that previous attempts to reform the system have been unsuccessful.
In George W. Doing so, however, would require adopting a constitutional amendment by a two-thirds vote of both chambers of Congress and ratification by three-fourths of the states. Because many smaller states fear that eliminating the electoral college would reduce their electoral influence, adoption of such an amendment is considered difficult and unlikely.
Stephen Wayne Some advocates of reform, recognizing the enormous constitutional hurdle, instead focused their efforts on passing a so-called National Popular Vote NPV bill through state legislatures. By several states—including Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey—had adopted the NPV, and it had been passed in at least one legislative house in more than a dozen other states.Abolishing the Electoral College completely would require a constitutional amendment, involving two-thirds approval from both houses of Congress and approval by 38 states – a process very.
Why does the United States have an Electoral College when it would be so easy to directly elect a president, as we do for all the other political offices?
When U.S. . Track the Senate election with a red/blue map of the US updated daily using the latest state polls. Nov 12, · Electoral college map for the United States presidential election.
Photograph courtesy Gage/Wikimedia Commons. Frustration with the Electoral College has increased, particularly on the left, since Clinton became the second Democratic presidential nominee after Gore to win the popular vote but lose the.
Electoral college: Electoral college, the system by which the president and vice president of the United States are chosen. It was devised by the framers of the United States Constitution to provide a method of election that was feasible, desirable, and consistent with a republican form of government.