COMMENTARY: Has the Electoral College outlived its usefulness?

Has the Electoral College outlived its usefulness?

“No!”  The Electoral College was one of many foresighted policies that the Founding Fathers established though the U.S. Constitution..  How to choose a president through a delicate balance of the individual states and the federal government and between the Executive and Legislative branches of government was the challenge.  The Founding Fathers answer was the Electoral College (Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution).

The winner take all approach encourages voter apathy, if that citizen is not supporting the “popular” candidate.  The feeling that their vote will not count leads to a diminished interest in participating in the election process.

The problem is not with Electoral College, but with the implementation at the individual state level. Forty-eight states have adopted a winner take all approach for the awarding of the Electoral Votes.  This is an individual state legislative decision.  Only Maine and Nebraska have developed other plans which can allow for a split Electoral Vote.

This author suggests that the electoral delegates/votes be assigned by Proportional Representation of the popular vote within each state.  Louisiana has eight Electoral votes. Under a Proportional Representation of the popular vote system for Louisiana’s electoral vote, the votes would be divided by percentage of vote, unless the candidate is represented by less than 10 percent of the popular vote. This would also allow for a meaningful representation of the popular vote.

In the November, 2016 Presidential unofficial election results, Trump had 58.10 percent of the popular vote; Clinton had 38.44 percent; collectively all other candidates had 3.46 percent.

Trump would be awarded 60 percent of the electoral votes (4.8 of 8 = 5): 5 Electoral Votes and Clinton would be awarded 40 percent (3.2 of 8 = 3) : 3 Electoral Votes.

Using the Proportional Representation method allows for the voices of the citizens to be heard in a meaningful way in the choosing of our President.  This is within the reach of all citizens, if they are willing to contact their State Legislators and ask that the law be changed on how Electoral Votes are awarded to Proportional Representation of the People.

The choice is up to US!

Jean B. Armstrong, CPC, CED
Baton Rouge

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Comments
One Response to “COMMENTARY: Has the Electoral College outlived its usefulness?”
  1. Garth Bishop says:

    Good article re the electoral college which suggest each state award votes based on proportional dividing the votes.
    This would accomplish the same thing as letting the popular vote prevail.

    It sound good in principle—but takes away the power of small states who will be totally left out as candidates will only campaign in most populous states.

    So the question is — do we include All states in the election (which I like) or just the most populous states? That was the purpose of the electoral college to give smaller states more power.

    The solution I’ve heard about that I prefer is to have the electoral college voters go with the will of their state—but ONLY if a candidate like Trump also wins the total popular votes which he lost..

    But conversely when the loser of the electoral college votes WINS the popular vote —-in this case each state is required to cast their electoral votes for the winner of the popular vote, which would have resulted in Hillary in the WH.

    Don’t know all details, but I understand more than 1/2 states have already passed this legislation, and as soon as 2/3 do— it is supposed to become the new standard. This needs to be talked up. And it keeps all states actively involved in presidential elections.

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