By FRANCISCO ZAPATA
It troubles me that we don’t actually vote for president of the United States. Instead we vote for “electors,” who then vote for presidential candidates on behalf of the people from their respective states.
This sequence known as the Electoral College was put in place by our Founding Fathers and dates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention. They instituted the system to ensure that voters wouldn’t elect criminals, or anybody unfit for presidential duties.
The Founding Fathers decided against popular vote because they believed the people didn’t have sufficient resources or information on candidates from other states.
It’s safe to say most modern Americans have sufficient information on out-of-state candidates.
The Electoral College questions the voice and intelligence of the people, deeming them unfit to decide who should be their president. It violates democratic principles.
Regardless of how you feel about the result of the 2016 election, the Electoral College needs to be amended or eliminated.
Hillary Clinton found herself on the wrong end of the popular and electoral vote split.
She became the fifth candidate to win the majority of the popular vote yet lose to the Electoral College, thus awarding the presidential election to Donald Trump. At press time, she led by a million votes.
The popular vote count previously lost to the electoral vote count in 1824, 1876, 1888 and 2000 elections.
In a country where “majority rules,” how can the majority vote for their candidate and have their voices unheard due to an outdated system? The Electoral College really should have been ditched after the 18th century.
I have heard people argue that the Electoral College has worked for over two centuries, so why change it? The key word is “worked.” We all know even a dead clock is right twice a day.
We must continuously evolve to maintain democracy.
Congress constantly amends the Constitution and comes up with compromises. Why? Because what worked two centuries ago isn’t necessarily what will work or is working in the 21st century.
Situations change, people change and our traditional ways of thinking change to ensure an ever evolving and stronger country.
I could support two possible solutions:
Solution 1: Amend the Electoral College to make every state equal in terms of electoral votes. If there is an ensuing tie, settle it through the majority vote count. Why give bigger or swing states a distinct advantage in the presidential race?
Solution 2: Eliminate the Electoral College entirely in favor of the popular vote. Win or lose, everyone in America has a voice. This would eliminate the controversy of the split between electoral and popular vote counts.
Let Americans decide who they want to be their leader. Give us a decisive voice in picking our leader and stop depriving us of our right to democracy.
Francisco Zapata studies journalism at Pima Community College and the University of Arizona. He enjoys writing about sports, politics and entertainment.