- As the presidential election drama plays on, the Electoral
College has taken a significant beating, supposedly because it short-circuits
democracy. New York Sen.-elect Hillary Clinton announced, "We are
a very different country than we were 200 years ago. I believe strongly
that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people and to me,
that means it's time to do away with the Electoral College and move to
the popular election of our president."
- Before a challenge to the Electoral College goes too
far, it's worth looking at what its replacement by a direct vote would
mean. The Electoral College is set up in three places in the Constitution:
Article II and the 12th and 20th amendments, Roger Pilon, director of the
libertarian Cato Institute's Center for Constitutional Studies, told us.
- Abolishing the college would mean a major overhaul of
the Constitution, which, in turn, would mean a protracted national fight
in Congress, where two-thirds of both houses are needed to pass a constitutional
amendment, and in the states, three-fourths of which are needed to ratify
an amendment. Abolishing the college also "would entail a substantial
lessening of the role of the states and enhancement of the role of the
federal government," Mr. Pilon said.
- John Eastman, a professor of constitutional law at Chapman
University, added that one reason the college was formed was because "the
founders were concerned about Caesarism," in which a strongman uses
supposed popular support to seize dictatorial powers. "The president
controls the army and, in modern times, the administrative state. The Electoral
College is an administative intermediary that keeps some of the power in
- Mr. Pilon said the founders divided governmental powers
to make sure that everyone, even in small states or rural areas, had a
say in government. "The Electoral college reflects the role of the
states in our system of dual sovereignty" between the state and federal
governments, he said. "The founders chose to divide government that
way so that no one power would be dominant. If the college were abolished,
presidential candidates would campaign almost exclusively in major population
centers to capture efficiently the broadest number of votes.
- Third parties probably would grow in power. Third parties
are desirable because they give voters more choices, but the Electoral
College currently moderates their role. Without the College, the U.S. electoral
process probably would begin to look like that of European countries, where
many small parties compete and gain recognition because they get a chunk
of the vote every time.
- The vote likely would become so splintered, with no one
taking more than 50 percent, that run-offs between the top two candidates
would become the order of the day. Finally, if the recount and "voter
irregularities" of this election seem bad, at least they're apparently
- In a close national election based on popular vote, every
vote out of 100 million would have to be questioned - and counted and recounted.
Do we really want our nation's future depending on the integrity of the
election process in, say, Chicago, notorious for its voting cemeteries?
Currently, Chicago at most influences only Illinois' 22 electoral votes.
- The Electoral College, whatever its defects, serves the
purpose the founders intended of uniting disparate regions and limiting
the power of the federal government. Whatever happens this month, it's
- The Electoral College
- From Stephen Taylor Warnick
- I just want to make a short mention of something. The
Constitution is a "Closed" document. The only way to open it
has already been discussed in a couple of articles on your site and it
is a lengthy Congressional process as we know, but no-one is mentioning
the most apparent part that needs to be brought to the attention of the
public. This electoral college thing is just a smoke screen hiding the
real reasons that the powers that be want to get the Constitution opened
up. Its just a stepping stone that will lead to further changes on even
more Amendments in the Constitution and we both know the primary targets.
- The 2nd, the 4th and probably the 10th as well. I want
to point out that once the Constitution is considered an open document
changes can be made anywhere within it and MOST LIKELY will be. Changes
won't be limited to just the main reason or excuse that it was opened in
the first place. Just the removal of a period here or a coma there maybe
the deleted 'and' or 'but' in some key places could change the entire definition
of what was originally said and meant and this word needs to get to public
somehow and soon. Opening the Constitution is a very dangerous and potentially
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