Let me start by saying I think the entire electoral college process stinks. It's antiquated and subject to manipulation. Although I don't think that it will happen in my lifetime I believe that it's time to move to a popular vote process.
If Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and the need for affirmative action can be argued as outdated, why can't the electoral college process?
The Electoral College is a process, not a place. The founding fathers established it in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.
The Electoral College process consists of the selection of the electors, the meeting of the electors where they vote for President and Vice President, and the counting of the electoral votes by Congress.
The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators.
Presidential electors are selected on a state-by-state basis, as determined by the laws of each state. Generally (with Maine and Nebraska being the exceptions), each state appoints its electors on a winner-take-all basis, based on the statewide popular vote on Election Day. Although ballots list the names of the presidential candidates, voters within the 50 states and Washington, D.C. actually choose electors for their state when they vote for President and Vice President. These presidential electors in turn cast electoral votes for those two offices. Even though the aggregate national popular vote is calculated by state officials and media organizations, the national popular vote is not the basis for electing a President or Vice President.
If we consider what Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is proposing Pennsylvania would change from a winner-take-all system to one that awards electoral votes proportionally. Of Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, 18 would be distributed based on the percentage of the popular vote each candidate wins. The other two votes, representing the states senators, would be given to the candidate who wins the popular vote.
Having earned 52 percent of Pennsylvanians’ votes, President Obama would have won 12 of the state’s 20 electoral votes instead of the full amount thereby losing 8 electoral votes.
In Michigan the proposal is to divvy up 14 of the state's 16 electoral votes according to which candidate got the most votes in each congressional district. The other two would go to the statewide vote total winner.
Four presidents took office without winning the popular vote. They were elected, instead, by the electoral college or in the case of John Quincy Adams by the House of Representatives after a tie in the electoral votes. They were:
- John Quincy Adams who lost by 44,804 votes to Andrew Jackson in 1824
- Rutherford B. Hayes who lost by 264,292 votes to Samuel J. Tilden in 1876
- Benjamin Harrison who lost by 95,713 votes to Grover Cleveland in 1888
- George W. Bush who lost by 543,816 votes to Al Gore in the 2000 election
We can only imagine how different things would have been had Al Gore won instead of George W. Bush.
We cannot allow these initiatives to change the electoral process. Do not let your state representatives subjugate your right to vote.