United States Presidential Election

As of today, countless Americans are unaware that their vote does not have a direct impact when determining the President and Vice President. Though the citizen’s vote does matter, certain members of Congress apart of the Electoral College are the individuals that ultimately make the decision on who the next President is to be. These 538 electors use their knowledge and expertise to vote in place of the citizens they represent, even if whom they vote for doesn’t support what the people wanted. An increasing number of citizens are becoming aware, as well as concerned, with the system of the Electoral College, making it a topic of fearsome debate. Though, regardless of the controversy it surrounds, the Electoral College still remains the process in which the President and Vice President are chosen. 49.5% unique

For the Electoral College to function properly, each state must receive an accurate quantity of representatives and electoral votes. All the states, regardless of the size or population, gets an automatic amount of three electoral votes, representing the two Senate seats and the one House district seat. The framers constructed this aspect of the system for the small states, or states with less of a population, so that they don’t get overpowered by the larger states. Once the initial three votes are awarded, the number of votes is determined through the population of that state. The amount of residence in a state is recorded through the U.S. census, and for every 10,000 individuals, an additional vote is given. On the day of an election, the people of a particular state cast their ballots in deciding the President and Vice President. The amount of votes each candidate receives is totaled by the state, and the candidate who obtains the most ballots wins the state. After this procedure, the electoral representatives of the winning candidate are delegated to the Electoral College. The Electoral members commence in their particular state capitals and, after consideration of what the people want, as well as what would be best for the nation, cast all the state’s electoral votes to the one candidate they feel should win the presidency. This is referred to the “winner takes all” system, as the “winner” of the citizen’s vote and the Electoral decision is awarded every Electoral vote of the state. Though in most cases, the representatives vote in favor of the people, this is not a legal requirement. Finally, Congress meets and counts the number of Electoral votes to discern whom the next person to serve as the President will be, with a mandatory 270 Electoral votes needed to win the Presidency. 34.1% unique

When the framers were examining their options when determining the method as to how the president would be elected, they had a lot to consider. The framers sought for a system where there was a buffer between the general population and the selection of the president. They also wanted a system where the smaller states were protected by the additional power they were given. Though many people would prefer a direct election and the “one man one vote” method, the framers were apprehensive towards such a system because they were concerned that an oppressor could gain immense authority through the exploitation of public opinion. The framers acknowledged that while all citizens are allowed to vote, not all may be informed or have the nation’s best interest in mind when doing so. They believed there needed to be more assurance that only capable people could become president. Due to this, the founders wanted the Electoral College; a people that are educated and, due to the uncertainty of who will serve, less likely to be controlled or swayed by anyone else. The founders recognized that the president would need to be chosen with superiority, not just popularity, and as such, a group of people that have enlightened and fair views would be required to ensure the right person was chosen. However, before the founders decided how the President should be elected, they had a meeting known as the Constitutional Convention. This was a meeting created for the purpose of amending the articles of confederation and during the meeting numerous ideas were discussed, the main two plans being the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey plan. In the Virginia Plan, the government would have an executive, legislative, and judicial branch, each of which has their own responsibilities and powers. This plan further stated that the number of electors each state gets would be comparative to the population; less populated states would get less representation, more populated would get more. The main point of this plan was a two-house Congress, an upper house and a lower house, all based on population. The other main idea discussed was the New Jersey Plan. Like the Virginia Plan, it proposed a three branch system, however, the New Jersey Plan wanted all states, regardless of population or size, to get a single vote and equal representation to the larger states. The smaller states greatly preferred this system, while the larger states opposed it. After much discussion and debate, the founders finally came to an agreement; the Connecticut Compromise. In this compromise, though the majority of the ideas came from the Virginia Plan, some aspect of the New Jersey plan was combined. The source of legislative power would be from a mix of the people and the states. The upper house, or the Senate, gives all states equal representation, appealing to the smaller states. The lower house, or the Congress, would have proportional representation, appealing to the larger states. This compromise gave both the small what they wanted, thus making everyone happy. 62% unique

There is no specific method the states need to follow when choosing who will serve in the Electoral College, though it is most common for the elector to be nominated by his/her party committee. The people nominated are frequently the leader of a political party or a person with significant ties to a particular party. Interestingly, there are nearly no credentials required to be an elector. The political party will promote the possible contenders for the Electoral College. When people cast their ballots in the election they are not just voting for the president, but the electoral members as well. In other words, the Republican and Democrat party both have selected electors who will serve among the Electoral College when the party’s candidate wins the majority vote of the state. If the Republican candidate wins, then the Republican party’s electors will serve and vote, and the same policy applies to the Democratic candidate. 42.5% unique

In the November general election, according to Florida Division of State, “all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation or no party affiliation, may exercise their right to vote for federal and state races, judicial retention and statewide proposed constitutional amendments and revisions on the General Election ballot. In addition, voters may vote in county and local-level races and local public measures.” There are different types of General Elections and they take place at every level. In the Presidential General election, citizens are voting for the U.S. President, which is a vital role that citizens play in influencing the government and their own future. Though the people may not be directly voting for the President, everyone’s vote still has an impact and matters. Another type of General Election would be a local one, where governors and local councilors are selected. These individuals are elected to represent the local community and make adjustments to the city that will impact the life of every resident. The selection of local officials reflects the goals of the people, as and such, people need to decide who they feel will make the best impact on their community. People can vote for modifications of constitutional amendments through general elections as well. This is a vital vote for every citizen to be involved in, as these amendments apply and affect all citizens, and as times change and our culture progresses, it is important to amend the constitution to keep it current and relative to our society. From the November General Election, held the first week in November, to the inaugural day, on January 20th, many things occur. The governor of each state prepares seven Certificates of Ascertainment. These Certificates have the Electors chosen and their respective number of votes. The Electors chosen will later gather in their state to do their job; voting for the President and Vice President. The electoral votes that are cast are sent to the President of Senate and the Archivist soon after the meeting. The members of Congress will meet to count the electoral votes and the Senate announces who has been selected for the Presidency and Vice Presidency. These vital events all happen in the course of several weeks. The main focuses for the President still in office will be tying up any loose ends from the presidency and preparing departure from the White House. As for the president-elect, he will use the time to have meetings and prepare for the presidency, as well as creating an agenda for the first 100 days in office. 62.8% unique

Numerous arguments exist in both support of and opposition to the electoral college. An argument defending the Electoral College would be that it was constructed to guard the smaller states from being ignored. Many believe that if we were to remove the Electoral College, those running for President would be likely to disregard the less populated states. The Electoral College encourages candidates to acknowledge the states equally, as all states matter due to the voting system. If we were to use only popular vote to determine a presidential election, then only a few states could have enough power to control the victor of the presidency. Several states are so concentrated with people that, when combined with the other populated states, have more people and potential voters than the collective amount all the other states. With that being said, it is reasonable to assume that ending the Electoral College would allow candidates to spend the most time and money in advertising for populous states while completely ignoring the smaller ones. The candidate would cater their goals to the populated states while disregarding and isolating the remote communities. Due to this, many Americans feel the Electoral College is vital for stopping such actions. Many other Americans support the Electoral College because they believe it is an indispensable part of our federalism. The founders purposely created the U.S. in a federal arraignment because they felt the layers of shared powers would be in the best interest of the nation. Although considered, they didn’t favor the idea of a direct election because they felt it could too easily cause the formation of a monarchal rule. With that being said, many people believe that eliminating the Electoral College would not only challenge the ideas of our founders, but it would destroy a process which nation was built upon. Additionally, the Constitution crafts the U.S. as a federal union, and as such, the Constitution defends the Electoral College, as it is a key element of the execution of our federalist ideals. Eradicating the Electoral College would remove much of the purpose of the Constitution because the federalist system it was designed to represent would diminish. 59.2% uniqueness

An argument in opposition to the Electoral College is the aspect of system where each state gets three electoral votes and the size or population of the state does not matter. While this may seem to allow all the states to be heard equally, it actually does the opposite. The state of Wyoming has an estimated population of 579,315, yet they still get three votes when they should get about a fraction of one vote. The state of California has an estimated population of 39.54 million, getting 55 Electoral votes. However, when the math is done, the people of Wyoming’s vote counts 3.6 times more than a vote from California. According to Allen Guelzo and James Hulme, “To put it another way, the three electors in Wyoming represent an average of 187,923 residents each. The 55 electors in California represent an average of 677,355 each, and that’s a disparity of 3.6 to 1″(The Huffington Post). This clearly creates much inequality between states, as some have more of an impact on the election than others. An additional argument in opposition to the electoral college is that the system is outdated and one of its core purposes does not apply to our society, and therefore, no longer needed. One key reason for the formation of the Electoral College was to provide a safety net; if uninformed citizens chose the president incorrectly, educated individuals would have the power to prevent that person from coming into office. This may have made sense when the Electoral College was created, in 1787, due to the fact that majority of Americans were illiterate, uneducated, and had little knowledge of their government. However, this concept simply does not apply in today’s society. Nearly 100 percent of Americans are literate and around 90 percent of Americans finished High School, meaning the majority of Americans have at least a foundational understanding of our government. Considering one of the key reasons for the Electoral College is now obsolete, it makes sense that many argue to abolish it. 56.5% uniqueness

Though some Americans would like to eliminate the Electoral College completely, many others would prefer to modify it. One idea people have proposed to amend the Electoral College is to have Instant Runoff Voting. In this system “…voters would rank their preferences rather than marking only one candidate. Then, when the votes are counted, if no single candidate has a majority, the candidate with the lowest number of votes is eliminated. The ballots are then counted again, this time tallying the second choice votes from those ballots indicating the eliminated candidate as the first choice. The process is repeated until a candidate receives a majority, reducing time and money wasted in a normal runoff election”(FairVote) For many Americans, this reform seems to be a viable option and has a persuasive advantage. People believe the main benefit of this system is that its construction allows the majority of Americans to be satisfied with the chosen President. With the existing system, the “spoiler effect” is an issue where “…spoiler is a non-winning candidate whose presence on the ballot affects which candidate wins. In mathematical terms, the spoiler effect is when a voting method exhibits failure of a property known as independence of irrelevant alternatives…” (electology.org). Though this matter is not completely eradicated with Instant Voting Runoff, it would allow the citizens to still vote for the president they favor most, while reducing the likelihood of their last choice candidate from being selected. When voters rank the candidates and their front-runner candidate doesn’t win majority, their vote is moved to their subsequent choice contender. This method is ongoing up till a winner emerges. Many Americans believe that by having this type of system a more people will be content with the candidate chosen. Another proposed reform to the Electoral College is the Proportional Allocation of Electoral Votes. In such a system, Electoral votes are divided and proportional to the percent of popular vote; “This way, a candidate who come in second place in a state with 45% of the popular vote would receive 45% of the electoral votes from that state, instead of 0%”(FairVote). Countless citizens disapprove of our current “winner takes all” system because if a candidate receives any percent less than the other candidate, even if by a minute amount, the candidate will not get a single Electoral vote. Some citizens feel this greatly misrepresents the votes of millions of Americans, as their vote is not reflected in the Electoral College. Due to this, many Americans believe the Proportional Allocation method would a superior technique for reflecting popular vote and would exceed the present system by representing more citizens. 40.0% uniqueness

Choosing the President is a vital aspect of our society, one which is determined through the Electoral College. As with any system, the Electoral College has flaws as well as advantages, and as such, it is easy to see why this system is one of confusion and debate. Though some may criticize and others support, none the less, it is a system that has been in place for centuries and is still in use today. Though revising or eliminating the Electoral College would be an extremely arduous task, people need to come together and decide if the flaws are worth changing, if there are any superior methods for selecting the President, or if the system is effective just the way it is. Overall, the fate the Electoral College rests in the hands of the people, and we can only hope the decisions to come are in the best interest of our nation.

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