What always made me leery about the way voting takes place in the USA is the Electoral College. I understand the 12th Amendment was created by farmers in Sept 6, 1787, so that the small towns in BFE would have an equal say in who runs this country. But it is not a very democratic method for our current society. Even now farmers way out in BFE have cell phones and the internet.
Critics like myself argue that the Electoral College is inherently undemocratic and gives swing states disproportionate influence in electing the President and Vice President. It violates the principle of political equality, since presidential elections are not decided by the one-person one-vote principle. A result of the present functionality of the Electoral College is that the national popular vote bears no legal or factual significance on determining the outcome of the election. Since the national popular vote is irrelevant, both voters and candidates are assumed to base their campaign strategies around the existence of the Electoral College; any close race has candidates campaigning to maximize electoral votes by capturing coveted swing states, not to maximize national popular vote totals.
The United States is the only country that elects a politically powerful president via an electoral college and the only one in which a candidate can become president without having obtained the highest number of votes in the sole or final round of popular voting.
The electoral college does not provide a straightforward process for selecting the president. Instead, it can be extraordinarily complex and has the potential to undo the people's will at many points in the long journey from the selection of electors to counting their votes in Congress.
Voting should be based on the direct popular vote of the people. Not by some shady elected “electoral” group of people who can be fined an obnoxious amount (in some states) for not voting a way they had promised. Although electors are not required by federal law to honor a pledge, in the overwhelming majority of cases they vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged. But no, the Electoral College can somehow supersede Us, the vote of the people.
4 times in our history the Electoral College superseded Our vote:
- 1824: John Quincy Adams, received more than 38,000 fewer votes than Andrew Jackson, but neither candidate won a majority of the Electoral College. Adams was awarded the presidency when the election was thrown to the House of Representatives.
- 1876: Rutherford B. Hayes a one-vote margin in the Electoral College, despite the fact that he lost the popular vote to Samuel J. Tilden.
- 1888: Benjamin Harrison lost the popular vote by 95,713 votes to Grover Cleveland, but won the electoral vote by 65.
- In 2000, Al Gore received 50,992,335 votes nationwide and George W. Bush received 50,455,156 votes. After Bush was awarded the state of Florida, he had a total of 271 electoral votes, which beat Gore's 266 electoral votes.
Things to read:
How Stuff Works
The Electoral College Controversy article