Number of electdental votes alsituated to each state.Source: USA.gov, “Presidential Election Process,” usa.gov (accessed Nov. 18, 2016)

The controversy over the continued use of the Electoral College resurfaced during the 2016 presidential election, as soon as Donald Trump lost the general election to Hillary Clinton by over 2.8 million votes and also won the Electdental College by 74 votes. The official basic election outcomes suggest that Trump obtained 304 Electoral College votes and also 46.09% of the well-known vote (62,984,825 votes), and also Hillary Clinton got 227 Electdental College votes and 48.18% of the famous vote (65,853,516 votes). <1>

Prior to the 2016 election, tright here were 4 times in US background once a candiday won the presidency despite shedding the famous vote: 1824 (John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson), 1876 (Rutherford B. Hayes over Samuel Tilden), 1888 (Benjamin Harrison over Grover Cleveland), and also 2000 (George W. Shrub over Al Gore). <2>

The Electoral College was established in 1788 by Message II of the US Constitution, which likewise establiburned the executive branch of the US government, and was revised by the Twelfth Amendment (validated June 15, 1804), the Fourteenth Amendment (validated July 1868), and the Twenty-Third Amendment (validated Mar. 29, 1961). Since the procedure for electing the president is component of the Constitution, a Constitutional Amendment (which requires two-thirds approval in both houses of Congress plus approval by 38 states) would certainly be forced to abolish the Electoral College. <3> <4> <5> <6>

The Founding Fathers produced the Electdental College as a damage in between electing the president using a vote in Congress just or via a renowned vote only. The Electdental College comprises 538 electors; each state is allowed one elector for each Representative and also Senator (DC is allowed 3 electors as establiburned by the Twenty-Third Amendment). <3> <4> <5> <6>

In each state, a group of electors is chosen by each political party. On election day, voters picking a presidential candiday are actually casting a vote for an elector. Most states usage the “winner-take-all” approach, in which all electoral votes are awarded to the winner of the famous vote in that state. In Nebraska and Maine, the candiday that wins the state’s overall well-known vote receives two electors, and one elector from each congressional district is apportioned to the famous vote winner in that district. For a candiday to win the presidency, he or she need to win at least 270 Electdental College votes. <3> <4> <5> <6>

At least 700 amendments have been proposed to modify or abolish the Electdental College. <25>

On Monday Dec. 19, 2016, the electors in each state met to vote for President and also Vice President of the United States. Of the 538 Electoral College votes accessible, Donald J. Trump got 304 votes, Hillary Clinton received 227 votes, and salso votes went to others: three for Colin Powell, one for Faith Spotted Eagle, one for John Kasich, one for Ron Paul, and one for Bernie Sanders). On Dec. 22, 2016, the results were certified in all 50 states. On Jan. 6, 2017, a joint session of the US Congress met to certify the election outcomes and Vice President Joe Biden, presiding as President of the Senate, check out the certified vote tally. <21> <22>

A Sep. 2020 Gallup poll uncovered 61% of Americans were in favor of abolishing the Electdental College, up 12 points from 2016. <24>For the 2020 election, electors voted on Dec. 14, and delivered the outcomes on Dec. 23. <23> On Jan. 6, 2021, Congress held a joint session to certify the electdental college votes during which numerous Republideserve to lawmachines objected to the results and pro-Trump protesters stormed the US Capitol sending Vice President Pence, lawmakers and also staff to secure locations. The votes were certified in the beforehand hrs of Jan. 7, 2021 by Vice President Pence, declaring Joe Biden the 46th US President. President Joe Biden was inaugurated via Vice President Kamala Harris on Jan. 20, 2021. <26>

Should the United States Use the Electdental College in Presidential Elections?

Pro 1

The Founding Fathers enshrined the Electoral College in the US Constitution because they thought it was the best strategy to select the president.

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Using electors rather of the well-known vote was intended to safeguard against unindeveloped or uneducated voters by putting the last decision in the hands of electors many likely to possess the indevelopment vital to make the ideal decision; to proccasion says via larger populations from having undue influence; and also to damage in between electing the president by renowned vote and letting Congress pick the president. <7> <8> <9>

According to Alexander Hamilton, the Electdental College is if “not perfect, it is at least excellent,” because it ensured “that the office of President will certainly never before autumn to the lot of any male that is not in an eminent degree endowed through the requisite qualifications.” <7>

The Founders wanted to balance the will of the populace against the threat of “tyranny of the majority,” in which the voices of the masses have the right to drown out minority interests. <10>

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Pro 2

The Electdental College ensures that all components of the nation are affiliated in selecting the President of the USA.

If the election depended specifically on the well-known vote, then candidays can limit campaigning to heavily-populated areas or particular areas. To win the election, presidential candidays require electoral votes from multiple regions and also therefore they develop campaign platcreates through a national emphasis, definition that the winner will certainly actually be serving the requirements of the entire country.

Without the electdental college, teams such as Iowa farmers and also Ohio manufacturing facility workers would be ignored in favor of pandering to urban locations via greater populace densities, leaving rural areas and also small communities marginalized. <11> <12> <13>

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Pro 3

The Electoral College assures certainty to the outcome of the presidential election.

If the election were based upon well-known vote, it would be possible for a candidate to obtain the highest variety of well-known votes without actually obtaining a bulk. <11>

This taken place through President Nixon in 1968 and President Clinton in 1992, as soon as both guys won the most electoral votes while receiving just 43% of the renowned vote. <11> The presence of the Electoral College precluded calls for recounts or needs for run-off elections.

The electdental process have the right to additionally create a bigger mandate to provide the president more credibility; for example, President Obama obtained 51.3% of the renowned vote in 2012 however 61.7% of the electdental votes. <14> In 227 years, the winner of the popular vote has shed the electdental vote just 5 times. <2> This proves the mechanism is functioning.

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Con 1

The reasons the Starting Fathers created the Electoral College are no longer relevant.

Modern modern technology and political parties permits voters to get crucial indevelopment to make increated decisions in a way that can not have actually been foreseen by the Establishing Fathers. <23>

While Alexander Hamilton in 1788 experienced the electors as being “totally free from any sinister bias,” members of the Electoral College are currently schosen by the political parties and also they are expected to vote alengthy party lines regardless of their very own opinions about the candidates. <7> <4> <16>

Just as several voting laws that restricted direct democracy in the Constitution have been modified or discarded throughout history, so need to the Electdental College. As a result of Constitutional amendments, womales and also former slaves were given the best to vote, and also Senators, as soon as appointed by state legislatures, are now chosen directly by famous vote. <15> The vice presidency was as soon as awarded to the runner up in electdental votes, however the procedure was readjusted over time to reflect the reality of elections. <17>

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Con 2

The Electoral College offers too much power to "swing states" and also allows the presidential election to be made a decision by a handful of claims.

The two main political parties have the right to count on winning the electoral votes in particular claims, such as The golden state for the Democratic Party and also Indiana for the Republihave the right to Party, without worrying around the actual well-known vote totals. Due to the fact that of the Electdental College, presidential candidates just need to pay attention to a limited number of claims that can swing one means or the other. <18>

A Nov. 6, 2016 episode of PBS NewsHour revealed that “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have actually made even more than 90% of their project stops in just 11 so-referred to as battleground says. Of those visits, virtually two-thirds took place in the 4 battlegrounds via the many electdental votes — Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina.” <19>

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Con 3

The Electoral College ignores the will certainly of the people.

Tbelow are over 300 million people in the United States, however just 538 world decide that will be president. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the well-known vote by more than one million votes, yet still shed the election on electoral votes. <14>

Even President Donald Trump, who benefitted from the device, declared after the 2016 election that he believes pcitizens should be chosen by well-known vote: “I would fairly check out it where you went with simple votes. You understand, you acquire 100 million votes and also somebody else gets 90 million votes and also you win.” <20>

Just as in 2000 as soon as George W. Shrub got fewer nationwide renowned votes than Al Gore, Donald Trump will serve as the President of the USA despite being supported by fewer Americans than his adversary. <2>

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Take Action

1. Listen to a Constitution Center podcast experimenting the pros and also cons of the Electdental College.

2. Explore the Electoral College using the US National Archives.

3. Consider the Amerihave the right to Bar Association’s reality check on whether the Electdental College have the right to be abolimelted.

4. Consider how you felt about the problem prior to reading this write-up. After analysis the pros and cons on this topic, has your reasoning changed? If so, how? List two to three methods. If your thoughts have not adjusted, list 2 to 3 means your better understanding of the “various other side of the issue” now helps you much better argue your place.

5. Push for the place and also plans you assistance by writing US nationwide senators and representatives.


1.Kiersten Schmidt and Wilkid Andrews, "A Historic Number of Electors Defected, and also Most Were Supposed to Vote for Clinton,” nytimes.com, Dec. 19, 2016
2.Rachael Revesz, "Five Presidential Nominees Who Won Popular Vote however Lost the Election," independent.co.uk, Nov. 16, 2016
3.National Archives and also Records Administration, "The 2016 Presidential Election," archives.gov (accessed Nov. 16, 2016)
4.National Archives and also Records Administration, "About the Electors," archives.gov (accessed Nov. 16, 2016)
5.National Archives and Records Administration, "Presidential Election Laws," archives.gov (accessed Nov. 16, 2016)
6.National Archives and also Records Administration, "What Is the Electoral College?," archives.gov (accessed Nov. 16, 2016)
7.Alexander Hamilton, "The Federalist Papers: No. 68 (The Setting of Electing the President)," congress.gov, Mar. 14, 1788
8.Marc Schulman, "Why the Electdental College," historycentral.com (accessed Nov. 18, 2016)
9.Melissa Kelly, "Why Did the Establishing Fathers Create Electors?," 712educators.about.com, Jan. 28, 2016
10.Hans A. von Spakovskies, "Destroying the Electdental College: The Anti-Federalist National Popular Vote Scheme," heritage.org, Oct. 27, 2011
11.Richard A. Posner, "In Defense of the Electdental College," slate.com, Nov. 12, 2012
12.Jarrett Stepman, "Why America Uses Electoral College, Not Popular Vote for Presidential Election," cnsnews.com, Nov. 7, 2016
13.Gary Gregg, "Electdental College Keeps Elections Fair," politico.com, Dec. 5, 2012
14.John Nichols, "Obama"s 3 Million Vote, Electdental College Landslide, Majority of States Mandate," thenation.com, Nov. 9, 2012
15.Joe Miller, "The Reason for the Electdental College," factcheck.org, Feb. 11, 2008
16.William C. Kimberling, "The Manner of Choosing Electors," uselectionatlas.org (accessed Nov. 18, 2016)
17.Sanford V. Levinboy, "A Common Interpretation: The 12th Amendment and also the Electdental College," blog.constitutioncenter.org, Nov. 17, 2016
18.Andrew Prokop, "Why the Electoral College Is the Absolute Worst, Explained," vox.com, Nov. 10, 2016
19.Sam Weber and also Laura Fong, "This System Calls for Popular Vote to Determine Winner," pbs.org, Nov. 6, 2016
20.Leslie Stahl, "President-elect Trump Speaks to a Divided Counattempt on 60 Minutes," cbsnews.com, Nov. 13, 2016
21.Lisa Lerer, "Clinton Wins Popular Vote by Nearly on 2.9 Million,” elections.ap.org, Dec. 22, 2016
22.Doina Chiacu and Susan Cornwell, "US Congress Certifies Trump’s Electoral College Success,” reuters.com, Jan. 6, 2017
23.Congressional Research Service, "The Electdental College: A 2020 Presidential Election Timeline," crsreports.congress.gov, Sep. 3, 2020

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Jonathen Easley, "Gallup: 61 Percent Support Abolishing the Electdental College," thehill.com, Sep. 24, 2020
25. Fair Vote, "Past Attempts at Reform," fairvote.org (accessed Oct. 1, 2020)
26.John Wagner, et al., "Pence Declares Biden Winner of the Presidential Election after Congress Finally Counts Electdental Votes," washingtonshort article.com, Jan. 7, 2021