The Electoral College

Among its democratic peers, the United States is unique in its use of the Electoral College in order to separate voters from the true power of choosing the President. Nations like Britain and France have far more equitable systems of voting for their highest offices, while the Untied States utilizes an institution that gives a voter in Wyoming 3.6 times the weight in the Electoral College that a voter in California gets. This was the topic of one of my Informed Citizens Discussion Group meetings, and I found it to be particularly interesting. According to members of my group, our Western European allies use a system close to, if not precisely, a national popular vote to elect their chiefs of state. These nations also have a higher voter turnout than the United States, and their campaign periods are shorter and more informative. It really got me thinking about the potential impacts of eliminating the Electoral College. Would we have an increased voter turnout? I could certainly see that being the case in places like California or Oklahoma wherein one political party dominates the winner-take-all system. Absent that institution, maybe each state would have a more diverse electorate? It would also force candidates to moderate their stances in order to appeal to voters everywhere. How would our primary system work? I really think that looking at the success of other electoral systems around the world might be beneficial for the United States as we strive to move away from a College that was created in order to protect slave states and to separate the people from making the important decision they possibly can.

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