Since the 2016 election, there’s been a lot of talk about getting rid of the electoral college to make our elections fairer. House Democrats even went as far as introducing a Constitutional amendment that would eliminate the electoral college, on the first day that they resumed control of the House of Representatives. But would eliminating the electoral college make elections more or less fair and why do we even have the electoral college?
The electoral college is a system that was created as a compromise because the Founders feared tyranny. Some wanted congress to select our Presidents. Others wanted Presidents to be elected by popular vote. Many argued that electing Presidents by popular vote would give all of the power to bigger states and others were concerned about giving congress that much power, so the electoral college was created.
If we eliminated the electoral college and only elected presidents by the national popular vote, there would be no reason for Presidential candidates to campaign in small states like New Hampshire and Iowa. Candidates would spend all of their time focused on campaigning in the bigger states such as New York, California and Texas. The big states would essentially get complete control over who is elected President. The electoral college helps to even the playing field a little and force candidates to spend time and money in states that wouldn’t have a say otherwise.
While, it is extremely unlikely that a Constitutional amendment to eliminate the electoral college will get enough support to pass anytime soon, some groups have a strategy that would completely ignore the Constitution and that could very well receive the support that it needs in the near future.
That push is called NPV (National Popular Vote). This push would award the job to whichever person who gets the most votes nationally. NPV asks states to award their electors to whoever wins the national popular vote. This would mean that if a candidate were to win the national vote, but lose California, California’s electoral votes would still be awarded to whoever won the national vote. If NPV would have been in place in 2004, even though Democrat John Kerry won California by more then 1 million votes, California’s electoral votes would have went to George W. Bush. Does that sound fair to you? What’s scary is that they only need 270 electoral votes for this to go into effect. 11 states and D.C, consisting of a total of 172 electoral votes, have already approved of NPV. That means that they are just a few states away from completely changing how our elections are run, and they would have done it by just ignoring the Constitution.
While many argue that eliminating the electoral college and relying on the popular vote would make elections fairer, it would actually make things less fair. We must keep a system that has worked for us for more then 200 years and allow the voices of all American people to be heard, and not just those in a handful of states.