Abolish the Electoral College

Abolish the Electoral College

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Suryan Bhatia started this petition to U.S. House of Representatives and

The president of the United States is voted not through popular vote, but rather through the Electoral College (EC). The EC is a set of 538 representatives, called electors. Each state receives a number of electors based on its population, and currently, the candidate who gets 270 or more electors wins the election. However, that's where the problem starts

This first major problem with the EC is how electors are won by candidates. Almost every state has a “winner-take-all” system regarding electors. If a candidate manages to get even 50.1% of the state’s vote, they get all electors from that state. At best, this means only a few hundred voters go unrepresented. At worst, 49.9% of the population can go unrepresented. A situation like this happened during the 2016 Presidential Election in Florida, a swing state with 29 electoral votes. The New York Times reported that Republican candidate Donald Trump received only 100 thousand more votes than Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in Florida, a difference of 1.2%, yet received all 29 electors.

The second major problem with the EC is how electors are given to states. According to the National Archives and Records Administration, every state is allocated electors equal to the number of its senators and representatives. At minimum, each state receives three electors. The problem arises when considering how the electors are distributed. The US population in 2010 was about 309 million, meaning each elector represented about 575 thousand voters. States such as North Dakota, due to its population, should have only one elector, yet received three. California, due to this system, lost 10 electors to states with smaller populations. The EC effectively says that Californians do not matter as much as North Dakotans.

The final major, and most insulting, problem with the EC is that electors can hijack the election as they are not bound to the candidate their state voted for. About 30 states have passed “binding laws,” which force electors to vote in accordance with the presidential popular vote in their state. However, the penalty for violating these laws is a fine in most cases, and the Constitution gives electors the power to vote for whomever they want. While an election hijack has never happened, electors have withheld or changed their votes in the past. For example, in 1837, electors from Virginia blocked the seating of the vice president-elect because they were offended by his wife’s race. Similarly, in 2000, a Washington DC elector held a vote from Gore due to unrelated reasons. Many more examples of electors being discriminatory, prejudiced, or incompetent exist, yet they are not held accountable for their actions.

In the past two decades, the EC has failed two times, in 2000 and in 2016. We cannot allow this unjust and undemocratic system to continue. This petition will be sent to Congress, and they need to see that the people will not stand for this system in the future.

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