The Electoral College

My post on the filibuster brought to mind another outdated relic of a bygone era, the Electoral College. Originally created by the nation’s founders to protect against uninformed voters, the law requires that each state name Electoral College members who will cast votes in a presidential election. Each state has the same number of college members as it has representatives in the House.

It is, unfortunately, a clumsy system that distorts the will of the people as represented in the popular vote. Almost 10 percent of presidential elections under the Electoral College system have resulted in the investiture of a president not elected by the nationwide popular vote. During the 2016 presidential election, for example, Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by over 2.8 million votes and won the Electoral College by 74 votes.

Most Americans oppose the Electoral College and would prefer that we elect our president and vice president by the popular vote. And the opposition is growing. A September 2020 Gallup poll found 61 percent of Americans were in favor of abolishing the Electoral College, up 12 points from 2016.

So the time is ripe, with a new Democratic administration and Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, to start the process of changing the Constitution with an amendment that will establish the popular vote rather than the Electoral College as the deciding factor in the election of the president and vice president.

Now’s the time. Let’s do it.

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