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The US Presidential Electoral System - Essay Example

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This essay “The US Presidential Electoral System” discusses the United States Electoral College system, which is the method that is used to translate the individual votes for a candidate into votes for the office of the presidency…
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The US Presidential Electoral System
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Download file to see previous pages After the election, the delegates cast their electoral vote and the winner is decided. This system was necessitated at the birth of the nation when counting a national popular vote was impractical. In addition, it protected the government offices from being decided by an ill-informed electorate. Though it is generally an adequate reflection of the voters' preference, it has several weaknesses.
One weakness in the electoral college, that a popular vote system would rectify, is the unequal distribution of voter power. Under the current system, the number of electoral votes is equal to the number of House members plus two. Since the number of House members is based on population, this gives an advantage to the smaller states (Bennett 3). Voters in the least populated states have more power with their individual votes than the voters in the larger states do. In addition, since the apportionment of electoral votes is based on the census, it is always out of date, sometimes by as much as 10 years (Edwards 2). A popular vote system would alleviate both of these problems and accurately reflect the population on an equal basis. Individual voter power is further hampered when the minority (loser) in the large states are awarded no electoral delegates at all. Leib and Mark state that, "Minority voters in large non-swing states—say Republicans today in California or New York, as well as Democrats in Texas—have the most reason to be upset with the current method of awarding electoral votes" (106). Uneven apportionment, out of date census data, and no minority voice creates an unjust system of voter unfairness.
One of the purposes of an electoral system is to facilitate and encourage voter participation. When voters feel like their vote is of little or no value, they will be discouraged from participating in the process. As an example, Indiana has traditionally voted overwhelmingly for the Republican presidential candidate in the last several elections. Though Democrats make up as much as 40 percent of the vote, their votes have not been counted for years. For all practical purposes, they have no reason to vote for a candidate that can not carry the state. "These disincentives essentially take the form of reducing the perceived benefits of voting for a Presidential candidate by restricting the power of votes to state jurisdictions rather than allowing all votes equal value (power) in a national election determined strictly by a popular vote" (Cebula and Murphy 188). Reforming the electoral college to reflect a more equitable system of voter power would encourage greater voter participation.
Moving to a popular vote system would not only more fairly represent the voters, it would also reduce the special favor spending projects that are awarded ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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