FILE -- letter to the editor

In defense of the Electoral College

In the past 16 years, two presidents have won the Electoral College vote but lost the popular vote, and there has been some talk about eliminating the Electoral College among mostly Democrats (since they would have the most to gain).

It is said that we do not have a true democracy because the president is not chosen by popular vote. This claim is absolutely correct. The form of government we have is not a true democracy — it is a representative republic that has mechanisms in place to help ensure the rights of individual states.

Our country is called the United States of America and this title implies that, while being united, individual states enjoy a certain amount of autonomy. During the drafting of the Constitution it was feared that the states with larger populations would tyrannize the states with smaller populations.

We see the potential for this tyranny of the majority when we look at the electoral map for this past election. The states with the higher populations along the East and West coasts are blue (Democrat) while the less-populous states in the center of the county are red (Republican).

If we had a true democracy it would be possible for the people in the highly-populated coastal states to pass laws making it legal for them to steal resources from the people in the center of the country. To put a check on the power of states with large populations, the framers of the Constitution apportioned two Senate seats per state to ensure that at least in one branch of the government each state could stand on equal footing with the other states regardless of that state’s population.

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The Electoral College consists of electors equal to the number of members of Congress (both House and Senate) from that state, and since the number of electors is tied to the number of senators, the Electoral College gives smaller states a little more leverage in determining who becomes president.

The Electoral College system is not rigged or outdated. It works exactly as it was intended.

Clayton Shakal,



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