Electoral College debunked by UH professors

The Electoral College is one of America’s oldest political institutions, and yet, its history and role in determining the winner of presidential elections is not common knowledge.
The result of the electoral college we have today is a compromised version of what various founders wanted in the U.S. voting system, said Elizabeth Simas, UH associate political science professor.
“The origins of the Electoral College are interesting. There was a lot of compromise,” Simas said.

“The Framers feared that voters would not be able to make a reasoned and informed choice if the president were elected through a direct election. They worried that, in such a large country, voters would have difficulty learning about the candidates and would most likely vote for candidates from their own state, giving large states a huge advantage. They were also concerned about a rule by a democratic mob.”

The Electoral College was devised as a way to make sure the elite leaders of the states would elect the president, giving rise to a semi-democratic system, said Brandon Rottinghaus, UH associate political science professor.

Representation in the Electoral College is equal to representation in Congress, so each state gets one electoral vote for each member of the House of Representatives and Senate. Washington, D.C. also has three electoral votes, bringing the national total to 538 votes.

While the assumption is whoever wins a plurality of the popular vote will win the election, that is not always the case, Rottinghaus said.

“Usually the popular vote does correspond to the Electoral College, but in very rare cases, it may not. The 2000 Election was a very notable case, and it drew national attention to the Electoral College and the American electoral system.”

According to Rottinghaus, there are two alternatives to the Electoral College. The first would distribute votes according to House districts, awarding one vote to the candidate who won each House district and two bonus votes to the candidate who wins the state popular vote. Maine and Nebraska have selective black distribution systems.

The second would allocate state electoral votes to whoever wins the nationwide popular vote. Nine states  — California, Washington, Hawaii, Illinois, D.C., Massachusetts, Vermont, Maryland and New Jersey — have adopted this method of distributing votes.

Although the majority of states are not considered “in play” in presidential elections under the current system, Rottinghaus and Simas emphasized the importance of continuing to vote.

“Many use this as an indication of the general partisan balance of a state,” Simas said. “It is then used to determine which states may have Senate seats or governorships that can be won in upcoming elections and even which states may be competitive in 2016. Even though people may feel the impact of their vote on the current election is somewhat limited, there is great potential to influence the competitiveness of their state and lower-ticket elections.”

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  • “The Electoral College was devised as a way to make sure the elite leaders of the states would elect the president, giving rise to a semi-democratic system, said Brandon Rottinghaus, UH associate political science professor.”

    Your intellectual dishonesty is abhorrent!

  • The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in the country.

    The bill changes the way electoral votes are awarded by states in the Electoral College, instead of the current 48 state-by-state winner-take-all system (not mentioned in the Constitution, but since enacted by states).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in every election. Every vote would be included in the state counts and national count.

    The candidate with the most popular votes in the country would get the 270+ electoral votes from the enacting states. That guarantees the candidate with the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC wins the presidency.

    The bill uses the power given to each state in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have been by state legislative action.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

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