With the results of the recent presidential election, the voting system has come under fire. Although president- elect Donald Trump won the Electoral College, he did not win the popular vote, leaving many voters asking if their vote even matters.
The Electoral College is a system put in place by the Framers of the Constitution to restrict the power of the general public, giving some of that power to a small group of electors. Today, there are 538 electors representing the 538 electoral votes in the election. On Dec. 19, those electors cast their ballots for the election. While Trump won the election, if enough electors changed their votes, Hillary Clinton could have won the election. However, the vote would have gone to the House of Representatives if neither candidate gets 270 votes, meaning that Trump would almost definitely still would have won because the House is controlled by Republicans. According to CNN, Trump has the 44th-largest share of the electoral vote out of 54 presidential elections since the modern system started in 1804. Before the vote took place, Trump tweeted in response to the protest that were taking place, “If my many supporters acted and threatened people like those who lost the election are doing, they would be scorned & called terrible names!”
Many people have called for a switch to the popular vote, but there are reasons why the U.S. uses the Electoral College. One reason is to make sure every area of the country is represented fairly and by having each state worth certain amounts of electoral votes, so the system doesn’t favor the highly populated areas. The Electoral College gives voice to people like farmers and it takes away some of the urban bias that comes with the popular vote. The Electoral College makes it so that a president can’t win the election from one area of the country and they have to win from states all over the country.
On the other hand, the popular vote has many benefits that the Electoral College does not have. Everyone’s vote is worth the exact same and each vote counts just as much as everyone else’s. In non- swing states, people’s votes don’t matter to an extent, because no matter who they vote for, they know which candidate will win their state. For example, here in Maryland, where Democrats win with ease, our votes don’t count as much as a vote in Florida. Each system has their strengths and weaknesses. Even president elect Trump can’t decide which system he prefers as he tweeted “The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy” on Nov. 6 2012, but then tweeted, “The Electoral College is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!” on Nov. 15 after he won the election.