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Electoral College

Photo from East Bay Express

During our third-trimester studies, we covered many fascinating topics and discussed concepts concerning the United States Government with great detail and thorough analysis. I found our discussions concerning the Electoral College particularly interesting and appealing. Under the Electoral College, voters in each state choose electors to represent their state at the gathering in which the President is elected. The Electoral College has proved a controversial topic throughout the years since its establishment, but has endured critique and still remains an essential component of our system of elections today. I believe the Electoral College should sustain a role in the Presidential nominating process for two reasons: 1) The Electoral College originated as a compromise generating peace and agreement among both U.S. citizens and the framers of the process; and 2) Through the system, smaller and less popular states are provided with opportunity for their opinions to be heard.

Being promised a democratic system of government, citizens of the U.S. expect to have influence when electing the leader of their nation. The idea of a direct vote appealed to citizens, but framers of the Electoral College worried this right could become dangerous in certain conditions. The framers suggested that by having a direct vote in presidential elections, citizens could end up with too much power. They preferred a system involving a select group of wise citizens meeting to decide which candidate should be elected. The citizens and the framers each had their own ideas for an ideal electoral system, but both extremes could not be reached. The framers desired a system far from the promised democracy and citizens had the urge to take advantage of the democratic system. A compromise between the two oppositions was necessary to end conflict.  The Electoral College was the compromise each side sought. Within the new system, citizens were given the chance to voice their opinion while control was still maintained over the process.

Photo from Frontloading HQ

Citizens occupying smaller states worried larger states would hold power over elections and dominate elections. No political parties had been established at the time of the debate over the Electoral College, and smaller states were concerned with the existing concept of the “favorite son,” or the most popular candidate. This politician was promoted by its state and the “favorite son” of larger states would always be elected under a system of popular vote. Through the system of the Electoral College, a candidate must receive a majority of the 538 Electoral College votes available. An individual candidate must attain at least 270 votes to be nominated for the position of President of the United States. When no candidate receives half the electoral votes and votes are scattered among various candidates, the House of Representatives is left to regulate the decision. Under these conditions, the House awards each state one vote. With this vote, representatives of the state must agree on one candidate in which to award their vote. The Electoral College creates a more inclusive and consensual decision by providing equal opportunity to all states to elect the president.

America’s system of democracy relies on the Electoral College as an equalizing and balancing system essential to the election process. The system provides a compromise. Less populous states stand chances, equal to those of larger states, to elect their “favorite sons.”  The concern citizens could ultimately attain too much power was settled by the Electoral College. The Electoral College is crucial in creating a middle ground among U.S. Citizens and the Government, granting citizens enough power to reach their expectations of a democracy while still allowing the government to monitor and maintain control over the process.

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  1. lmcquary5
    May 2, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I thought your post was very well written and it kept me interested! The map visual was really helpful as a visual aid. If you used outside sources, hyperlink them to your post.

  2. govandrewb
    May 2, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I agree with Larson. you rocked it.

  3. May 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Well done, Morgan!

    I appreciate clear structure: thesis at the end of paragraph one; two strong body paragraphs; and a conclusion that ties your persuasive pieces together.

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