• Jonathan Ellis

Democracy vs. The Electoral College

By now we've all seen it, read about it, or at the very least, heard about it. The elusive group of groundhogs who only come out once every four years. I'd be willing to bet not a single average citizen(myself included) knows any of them by name, yet they decide the fate of the entire free world. The electoral college is the name given to the entity or entities responsible for casting their vote during a presidential election. 'Their vote' being the number of electoral votes given to each state by population. To many, this is considered to be common knowledge. What may not be so well known is the fact that these electorates are NOT required to vote in the manner in which you intended. Meaning you, and everyone in your town could vote for Candidate A. The electoral college in all of their wisdom and glory could decide to give their population mandated vote to Candidate B. While not likely to happen, this still remains a possibility. Power to the people? Another more stunning example of this would be the 2000 election. To those who were scrounging for lunch money at the time, I'll save you the mundane details and inform you that Al Gore won the popular vote. Meaning Al Gore physically received more people voting for him, but did not win the election. How you might ask? The electoral college. But isn't the majority supposed to always come out on top in a democracy? After all, isn't that what a democracy is? A consensus of the people? Apparently not always. I've seen a defense of this system recently on social media, with some stating that the electoral college gives all states equal footing. A quick glance at the numbers tells us this is incorrect. A state with an enormous population has tons more say than a state like Vermont. On the contrary, using the electoral college makes things skewed this way. If it were done away with, the popular vote would be the one that mattered, and the majority would indeed have it their way.

Which brings us to the perfect time to mention the U.S. election of 1984.

Why mention the 1984 election? Look at it. Such a decisive victory may never be seen again in the history of U.S. politics, but that is not the real reason I bring this up. My real reasoning is to bring into question the integrity of the tallied count. To some it may seem unfathomable that anyone with "official" next to their name would be up to questionable activities, but I assure you it happens on a daily basis. Think about it. You go to your local polling station, stand in line, cast your vote, then go home and watch the numbers change in almost real time. Eventually your local news station will report who has won said town. Literally, we are told the results, but have no way of validating them. Suppose every vote in your city goes to Candidate A, meanwhile it's reported that Candidate B has won your town. Who would be the wiser? And yes, I have done the research on how the various methods of voting gets tallied. My question still remains.

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