The Electoral College of the United States is a body of presidential electors who are mandated by the Constitution to meet every four years for the explicit intent of choosing the President and Vice President. Each state is required to nominate electors in an equal number to its congressional delegation, according to the processes outlined by its law. There are currently 538 electors, and one candidate must get an absolute majority of 270 votes or more to be chosen for president and vice president. The United States House of Representatives has a contingent election to pick the President and the United States Senate to elect the Vice President if no candidate receives an absolute majority.
Initially, The Electoral College offered the Constitutional Convention with a middle ground between two major proposals: popular presidential election and presidential election by Congress. Determining precisely how many electors to assign to each state was another sticky point considering the divide was between slave-owning and non-slave-owning states. It was identically tantamount to the issue that plagued the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives: should or shouldn’t the founders include enslaved people in counting a state’s population? In 1787, around 40 percent of people living in the Southern states were enslaved Black people who couldn’t vote. James Madison from Virginia, where over 60 percent of the population was enslaved, knew that neither enslaved people having no vote, nor one equipollent to a white person, would fly in the south. The final result of this controversial discussion was the three-fifths compromise in which three-fifths of the enslaved Black population would be counted toward allocating representatives and electors and calculating federal taxes.
Four distinct but connected concerns are discussed in debates between supporters and opponents of the existing voting system:
- Indirect election.
- Disproportionate voting power by some states.
- The winner-takes-all distribution method (as chosen by 48 of the 50 states and the District of Columbia).
There have been five United States presidential elections in which the prosperous presidential candidate did not receive a plurality of the popular vote, including the 1824 election (the first election the popular vote was counted), the 1876 election, 1888 election, 2000 election, and most recently, the 2016 presidential election between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. There have also been complaints about exclusive focus on sizably voluminous swing states, discouragement of turnout and participation, obscuring disenfranchisement within states, lack of enfranchisement of U.S. territories, advantage predicated on state population, and disadvantage for third parties.
Over 700 endeavors to alter or abolish the system have been submitted in Congress since 1800. These conceptions’ proponents stated that the electoral college system does not allow for direct democratic election, favors smaller states, and permits a candidate to win the presidency without receiving the most votes. None of these ideas have gained the needed two-thirds congressional approbation and three-quarters state support to transmute the Constitution.
Whether or not we should perpetuate to utilize the electoral college in the United States is a highly controversial topic. If it were facile, we would probably have already switched to the popular vote; however, because it is such an arduous process to transmute something inscribed in our Constitution, endeavoring to change it [for proximately the 800th time] does not seem promising or prosperous considering the very inauspicious first 700 trials.