Everyone vote like it’s 1787

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By Stephanie Holland

(Wikimedia Commons)

By Stephanie Holland

America is the land of the free, home of the brave; it’s a place built on the foundation of democracy where one citizen equals one vote.

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly true because there’s the pesky little problem of the Electoral College, an antiquated system of counting votes in the presidential election.

The College is made up of 538 elected officials who select the president and vice-president based on how their states vote in the general election.

For example, if California goes to Barack Obama, then its electoral delegates will pledge to select him president.

This may not sound like a complicated approach but when you consider that voter fraud and government corruption have played a large hand in the last two presidential elections, it seems like a bad time to take the choice away from the people.

You may also want to remember that the Electoral College was ratified Sept. 6, 1787.

That’s right 1787.

I’m pretty sure the country has advanced since then.

America is supposed to be the most powerful democracy on the planet, but in 2000 George W. Bush was able to be elected president even though he lost the popular vote.

That means the man running the country was not who the majority of the people voted for.

Webster’s defines democracy as rule of the majority or a government where supreme power is held by the people.

Well clearly the US is not quite a democracy and the only way to fix that is to abolish the Electoral College and let the will of the people reign.

There is no way that a system invented in 1787 when America consisted of thirteen colonies all located in the east can accurately represent a country of millions that stretches coast to coast in 2008.

The problem is that most politicians are corrupt and rely on antiquated voting ideals to keep them in office. Thus they have no incentive to care if the will of the people is being properly recognized.

The other problem with the Electoral College is that it makes candidates focus their campaign efforts on a number of specific swing states that carry larger electoral totals.

This means that they ignore smaller states with only two to four votes.

I’m sure that the citizens of Vermont will be happy to know that with three votes they are considered unimportant in the shadow of California’s 55 votes.

This relative invisibility makes people feel that their votes don’t count and leads to low turnout.

If the election were decided by popular vote, politicians would have to campaign to the entire nation and not just a select few states.

Abolishing the Electoral College would also provide voters with more choice on election day, because it would lead to greater access for third party candidates.

There’s also the question of how electors are chosen. There is not one definitive way of choosing electoral representatives, so party politics plays a major role in who gets picked.

It’s like a very big game of duck, duck, goose, with the winner getting the great honor of electing our president.

I don’t know who these people are and I definitely don’t know why their votes are more important than mine. I’m a legal citizen over the age of 18 who pays her taxes, I’m pretty sure I can speak for myself.

These and many other questions will never be answered because supporters have continually voted against ending the Electoral College.

They argue that it represents a more “numerically-equivalent” way of deciding who the state votes for.

I find that extremely hard to believe.

There is no way that this algebra problem is more “numerically-equivalent” than just counting the popular vote.

Advocates also say the College gives minorities more of a voice in presidential politics.

Really? Because I doubt that a bunch of politicians in a room in Sacramento are worried about what I, an honest to God minority thinks.

Here’s the bottom line: It’s 2008 and the Electoral College has run its course.

A system where someone can completely disregard what the people think and decide on their own who to select as president cannot be called a democracy.

That last time I heard of a government being decided that way it was called an evil empire and being run by Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader. It took a feisty rebellion to bring them down – let’s hope it doesn’t come to that here.

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