Electoral College (727 words) Essay

Electoral CollegeThe framer’s intent of setting up the American Government will never be
know for sure, but it is gathered that they preferred a republic over a
democracy. In the constitutional convention the drafters had to decide how much
power they would entrust with the people of the United States, and how much
should be controlled by representatives. They chose to have Congress Make the
laws, and congress would be selected directly by the people. But another branch
of government, the executive branch, needed a sole president and the framers
had to decide how to choose this president. They chose from three main
systems: elect the president by congress, the people, or electors. The electoral
college system has been in place for over 200 years and Americans are still not
sure how it works or if it is the best system. Many Americans feel they go to
the polls every year and vote for the president, and in the long run they are in
control of the fate of our executive branch.

This third system was to have electors that could not be a member of
congress vote for the president. The elector system was voted down twice, once
as the electors to be chosen by state legislatures, and the other time as the
electors to be chosen by direct vote. Finally it was passed under the system of
letting state legislature decide how to choose the electors. Another compromise
had to be made about how many electors each state would have. This was
agreed upon by the electors equaling the total of the states representatives and

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States went three main routes in choosing electors: the legislative system,
where state legislatures choose the electors; a district system, where electors are
selected by the people of each congressional district; and the general ticket, or a
winner-take-all system, where a popular vote was held in the entire state, and
the winner took all electoral votes. Many have tried to reform by making a more
uniform system state by state, but the constitution is very clear that it is each
state’s own decision of how to choose electors.

The legislative system eventually failed because of too much bargaining,
promises, and payoffs. The district system eventually lost popularity because it
encourages third parties. This left the general ticket system as the dominating
system. However, the framers originally intended electors to be chosen by the
people and then vote for what they thought was best. There are two states that
still use the district system, but the remaining 48 states use the general ticket

Most all states no longer show the electors’ names on the ballot. The voter
votes for either the president or the party that they wish to hold office. This
causes a problem of the unfaithful elector. Electors are expected to ratify the
people’s choice by voting for candidates winning the popular election. Electors
that do not vote for what they are expected to vote for are considered faithless
or unfaithful electors. This has not traditionally been a problem in the history of
the electoral college but it could possibly be a problem. Less than 1% of
electors have ever misrepresented their community. 26 states do not require an
elector to vote for what they have pledged to vote for by state law. Although
these states are still considered under the general ticket system.

Basically the electoral college system works like this today. Every ten
years the census figures adjusts how many representatives each state has. This
number plus two, representing the two senators, equals how many electors each
state has. Also, DC has 3 electors. Then each state has the right to decide how
to select these electors. Forty eight states use the general ticket system, two,
Maine and Nebraska, use the district system. The general ticket system is
suppose to operate as follows. There is a direct vote election held in each state
and the winner of the vote is suppose to get all of that states electoral votes. In
Maine and Nebraska there is an election held in each congressional district. The
winner of every district gets one electoral vote, and the candidate with the most
electoral votes gets the remaining two electoral votes. Then all of the votes are
counted, and if a candidate gets more than half the votes, he/she becomes the
new president. If there is no majority then the election gets thrown into the
House of Representatives. There each state is given one vote and they vote on
the top three candidates. if a candidate gets a majority vote, the he/she becomes


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