Let’s talk about the pros and cons of the Electoral College, shall we?

PROs:

There aren’t any.

CONs:

Crapaduck! Where to start?

As a former history major and a reader of all genres of historical literature, I thought I knew a thing or three about the hows, whys and soforths of the Electoral College.  For example, I “knew” the Electoral College was originally set up to be quasi-independent to make sure the “unwashed masses’ didn’t vote for a simpleton or a would-be king.

According to a History Channel blurb, a little more than a decade after the end of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress considered several ways to elect a president. These included selection by Congress, by the governors of the states, by the state legislatures, by a special group of Members of Congress chosen by lot, and by direct popular vote..

When a consensus could not be reached, a committee devised the electoral college system in its original form. It sought to reconcile differing state and federal interests, provide a degree of popular participation in the election, give the less populous states some additional leverage in the process by providing “senatorial” electors, preserve the presidency as independent of Congress, and generally insulate the election process from political manipulation.

Oh, yes, the original intent was good. After more than 230 years, “original intent” means less than a politician’s promise 10 days before election.

The electors are expected to vote the wishes of the voters, but are not required to do so. The rub is from a section of the law creating the body allowing the states to choose the way the college members are supposed to vote; some require all college votes to go to the statewide winner, while other state’s votes are allotted as percentage of the votes received by individual candidates.

See where the basic problem lies?

In states where all electoral votes go to the overall vote-getter, regardless of how close the race is, the votes of those who voted for the ‘loser” simply do not count. That was never the intent of our forefathers, who, almost to a man, asserted that every vote was important.

Furthermore, notwithstanding the founders’ intent and efforts, the electoral college system almost never functioned as they intended, but, as with so many constitutional provisions, the document prescribed only the system’s basic elements, leaving ample room for development…or as has been the case, manipulation.

As the republic evolved, so did the electoral college system, and, by the late 19th Century, an incredible range of constitutional, federal and state legal, and political elements of the contemporary system were in place.

You know how it works…the system doesn’t work to suit one party or the other and changes, shifts and reasons are employed to make it “right’ and “right” is subjective.

While there have been electors who took the Constitution’s directive of being independent to heart and refused to follow the lead of their voting constituents as gospel (one each in 1948, 1956, 1960,1968, 1976, 1988 and 2000), no such action as ever affected a presidential election outcome.

Of the 50 states, 48 are winner-take-all states (with several states moving away from that uneven allotment of votes); in that situation, up to 49.99 percent of a state’s votes are basically disfranchised.

Bottom line: Every vote should count without exception. We all know the majority of the East and West Coast states are liberal and the country tends to be more conservative in central and southern parts of the county.

To make sure each vote counts every time, every election, the only way to ensure that happens is by mandating that members of the college shal vote as a percentage of the popular vote for each candidate or by overall national popular vote totals.

So, let’s start talking to our elected officials and get ‘er done!

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