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10 Pros, Cons, and Ideas for the Electoral College

November 7th, 2008

The electoral college is a very interesting system of voting that has several pros and cons. I think it has some good and bad points, and I think it has some room for improvement.

Pros and Cons of the Electoral College

1. Pro: It allows small states and small town America to have a say in the the election.  The candidates go to every corner of the battleground states and many people get the opportunity to meet and question them.  I am originally from a small town and I think that this is one of the major benefits of the electoral college.

2. Con: Many states are seemingly completely left out of the process.  A solid blue state like California never gets to see either candidate.  Neither does a solid red state like Texas.  These are the 2 biggest states in the union and they don’t get any attention from the candidates.

3. Pro: It gives the winning candidate the majority of the vote. In the 1992 election Bill Clinton only received around 42% of the vote. However, due to the influence of Ross Perot he still won a convincing majority in the electoral college. There is definitely some benefit to winning a majority.  You don’t want the perception of 2/3 of the country not wanting you as soon as you take office.

4. Con: Some votes are “worth” more than others.  Certainly a vote in Ohio is not the same as a vote in New York.

5. Pro: It avoids the possibility of a recount of the entire nation. After the fiasco in Florida in 2000, can anybody imagine the nightmare of a recount for the whole country.  The chances of fraud would also go up tremendously.

6. Con: It is a remnant of slavery.  The southern states had smaller populations when the country was formed due to blacks only counting for 3/5 for population reasons.  The compromise for small states to be represented, (and so that they would join) was the senate.  The senate has 2 representatives for each state, putting the small states on a level playing field with the large states.  These 2 votes in the electoral college also give small states an advantage over large states.  A vote in a small state is worth more relative to a vote in a large state because of this.

7. Pro: I think that it does a better job representing the country as a whole.  Some of the larger states leaning in one direction could completely over power a large portion of the country.  The electoral college provides some balance to this.

8. Con: It makes having a third party nearly impossible.  If there was a legitimate third party, the electoral college simply does not work as it is currently structured. As it is now, a candidate must win a majority in the electoral college to win.  If there is no majority, the House of Representatives votes to decide the president.  If we have 3 parties splitting the electoral votes, the house would decide each time. I don’t think the American public would stand for this.

9. Idea: Go to a straight popular vote.  This basically solves each con of the electoral college. Unfortunately, it basically negates all of the pros for the electoral college in that it would ignore small town America and create a nightmare in the possibility of a nationwide recount. This brings me to what I think is a better solution.

10. Idea: Separate the votes in the electoral college by district as Nebraska and Maine do and as the Democratic party did for most of its primaries. This solves many of the problems of the electoral college. Instead of having battleground states, we would then have battleground districts.  This would make candidates campaign in many more states than they currently do.  A Democrat could win some districts in Texas and a Republican could gain some votes in California.  More people would be given the opportunity have their voices heard.  This would be much closer to a popular vote yet we would be spared the possibility of a nationwide recount.

This would also make a third party more viable. Though they currently are not able to compete on a statewide level, I believe third parties could compete in some districts.  After winning some electoral votes, they would gain recognition and increase support among like minded individuals.  As it stands now, most people feel it is a wasted vote making it nearly impossible for third parties make a difference.  While we would have to work around the problem of not having a majority, there are certainly benefits to having another option. If nothing else it would help police the two crooked parties we have now. If there were the possibility of another party winning, they would have to behave themselves more than they currently do. I think this is overall a much better solution than the system we currently have in place. Also, this would not be that difficult to put into place.  The states already have the option to do this. As I said earlier, Nebraska and Maine do it this way now. 2 down, 48 to go.

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Author: Derek Clark Categories: General Politics Tags:
  1. November 8th, 2008 at 10:25 | #1

    I don’t know off the top of my head what New Zealand’s election laws are like but I find it interesting that this election result from them shows 20% of their vote split between four different parties and the two primary parties winning 45% and 33%. This means the winning candidate did not win a majority and it works for them. Of course, the article also mentions they have a 78% voter turnout. which is quite a bit better than the 50% voter turnout we generally have during presidential election years and the 37% we have during off years.

  2. Sam
    May 4th, 2010 at 00:25 | #3

    You seem to think that the over-representation of small-town America in the Electoral College is both a pro and a con. Make up your mind!

  3. October 29th, 2010 at 07:48 | #4

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  4. Clint
    November 9th, 2010 at 01:02 | #5

    The biggest con to this system that seems to be missed on each front is that the electoral college is not an automatic thing. These are actual people with no legal binding to vote the way each state’s popular vote goes. The scary thing about this is that 538 people control who becomes president and whenever this is brought to attention people just say “Well they’ve never gone against us before.” but the fact of the matter is that legally, constitutionally, the American citizen’s vote for president has absolutely no real calculated meaning. It is horrifying to me that our government is able to subtly wield this unchallengeable power without the absolute outrage of the people. Americans need to start standing up to this government. It is time………..

  5. J.Wane
    May 11th, 2011 at 19:11 | #6

    Clint you do not know what you are talking about, this is not a democracy this is a republic. As you probably (dont) know, in a republic the people elect representatives to make decisions for us. The “control” that our representatives have over who wins the presidency is given to them by us the voters. so how you can say that ” the american citizen’s vote for president has absolutely no real calculated meaning” is beyond me. Also the framework for the electoral college is laid out in the constitution so it cant really be unconstitutional. As for how the government is “subtly wield[ing] this unchallengeable power”, wrong. There is nothing subtle about it, as I said before, ITS IN THE CONSTITUTION if you ever dared to look at it you might have seen that. Regarding how this power is unchallengable, it isnt, its called an amendment. And what is terrifying to me is that our educational system has failed to educate you about this and that misconceptions and fear-mongering bs regurgitated from the media is what has replaced a quality education.


  6. ababa
    May 11th, 2011 at 19:15 | #7

    J.Wane brings up quite a few fair points.

  7. Chris Reiser
    May 20th, 2011 at 11:15 | #8

    I do not think that the electoral college serves a great purpose in elections. They are to controlled by the public.

  8. October 5th, 2011 at 11:22 | #9

    You’re an idiot. I’m in high school and I know that there are laws to prevent the 538 votes from not following their voters requests. They can be replaced with another elector. Some states have laws in place to assure voters that the representitive votes the way they want. Learn shit!

  9. Victoria Reed
    October 20th, 2011 at 12:19 | #10

    I dont think you have any clue what your talking about..

  10. Chill Out
    November 1st, 2011 at 22:20 | #11

    I think you all need to be nicer in your arguments. No need to curse or use sarcasm…

  11. Skiman
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:26 | #12

    Skiing is awesome, so you can all be quiet.

  12. Skiman
    November 10th, 2011 at 11:28 | #13

    Utah has the greatest snow on Earth.

  13. Mrmath130
    January 18th, 2012 at 20:42 | #14

    Personally, i agree with J. Wayne, but I also think his information could have been presented in a more neutral way. Clint, you do raise an interesting case, but the fact is Mr. Wayne is correct. There ARE laws in place to prevent the 538 Representatives from just doing whatever. Also, Mr. Chill Out, I entirely agree. This should not become a flame war. I am not accusing anyone of anything, but I am saying that we should all keep our cool.

  14. victor
    January 25th, 2012 at 16:07 | #15

    e2ddddddddddddddd i love jannent

  15. victor
    January 25th, 2012 at 16:08 | #16

    fuck u

  16. victor
    January 25th, 2012 at 16:09 | #17

    sorry i ment fracking is bad gov

  17. victor
    January 25th, 2012 at 16:14 | #18


  18. hi im bill
    February 28th, 2012 at 19:02 | #19

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  19. hi im bill
    February 28th, 2012 at 19:02 | #20

    Hhahhaahhahahahah i beat victorr

  20. hi im bill
    February 28th, 2012 at 19:03 | #21

    i bet u suck at skiing@Skiman

  21. hihih 24
    February 28th, 2012 at 19:03 | #22

    hi im bill

  22. WeinerLov3r
    March 2nd, 2012 at 10:23 | #23


  23. WeinerLov3r
    March 2nd, 2012 at 10:25 | #24

    I C U WeinerHat3r

  24. WeinerHat3r
    March 2nd, 2012 at 10:26 | #25


  25. C&R
    March 30th, 2012 at 08:38 | #26


    thanks :D

  26. Mrmath130
    March 30th, 2012 at 17:15 | #27

    Thank you, Voice of Reason.

  27. d. Johnson
    March 31st, 2012 at 19:20 | #28

    As for our education system, I am a teacher who is constantly educating myself on this topic. I am a libertarian and like to have my kids in class form their own opinion. I like to present the pros and cons, have them discuss. There is no right answer, no wrong. It is something that needs to be taught. I do ask if one political party has an advantage with Electoral College. I also tell them they need to keep an eye on THEIR government. It can turn on you overnight.

  28. Mrmath130
    April 2nd, 2012 at 18:57 | #29

    @d. Johnson
    I like your style…

  29. Anonymous
    April 24th, 2012 at 08:23 | #30

    Why should/shouldn’t we use an Electoral College to make the decision for our President?

  30. October 9th, 2012 at 18:14 | #31

    First, you should sign your work. Your analysis is spot on. I have founded a third party and would invite you to join us in crafting the political landscape of tomorrow. As you so rightly noted, the big two are corrupt beyond redemption, and likely, they do not seek redemption. Naturally, we are for the abolition of the Electoral College for the very reason you stated; barring entry to third parties. Come help us win the future. All you need to do is listen the the endless lies spouted by the two candidates to know that we simply MUST DO BETTER. In start contrast to having to vote for the lesser of two evils, Party Recon is a choice worth making.

  31. John McCann
    October 23rd, 2012 at 23:01 | #32

    Why not split the electoral votes by the percentages of the popular vote?

  32. alex
    October 24th, 2012 at 11:21 | #33

    I’m no expert on this subject but I have an idea. what if we took away the idea of states in relation to the election? like no “state” has voting power, we just go to the polls and vote, they tally the votes and bam! a president. no need for an electoral college, no need of a states’ voting power, every vote gets counted and is equal. I just don’t understand why we have to vote to let somebody else vote for us in the end. yes I understand that it’s such a massive scale vote that it would be hard to tally up but I think if we devoted the recorces to ironing out this issue it would be better for the country. like I said I’m not an expert on this and the idea I have is cloudy and I’m just basing my idea on what I understand so far.

    it just seems to me that out right to vote is being slowly constricted. I had a buddy that is registered as an independent and he went to vote in the rep. primary and they wouldn’t let him vote because you have to be a rep. that does not make sense in my eyes, I believe you should be able to vote for anyone you want in any election primary no matter your party affiliation. why is this country so divided? rep and dem system is broken and we will never have a 3rd party pres because of te electoral college system. I’m probably wrong but this is what I understand.

  33. October 24th, 2012 at 12:09 | #34

    John and Alex, you are really saying the same thing. John, if you split up the vote per state by percentage then cumulatively, you will have the same result as if you just skip the Electoral College (EC) altogether. Then, as Alex said, total the votes and bam! (I love that alex, can I use it?). The biggest evil perpetrated by the EC is that it virtually guarantees that the only parties that can win the White House are the Republicans or the Democrats, who both sit squarely in the pockets of Big Business (see Koch Industries) and wealthy individuals (see George Soros). As such, average ordinary citizens like you and I have only one way to participate in government — voting. But do you think the Democrat or Republican parties give a rip about what you or I think. Hell no! Why? Because neither of us has written them a 5 or 6 figure check recently. Those are the people that get access to politicians; not you or I. If you wish to test my theory, write your congressman or senator and tell them you’ll be in Washington next week and that you would like to sit down with them for 30 minutes to discuss Oil Subsidies, Campaign Finance Reform, or any other topic you care to choose. If the letter comes back with, “Sure. Would 10 AM Wednesday or 3 PM Thursday be better for you?”, forward it to me and I will eat it while simultaneously setting myself on fire.

    The fact is the only we can effect real change in government, namely, resting the power away from the rich and restoring it to The People is to elect third party candidates who will go to Washington to do just that. I have started such a party, and you can find the details at http://www.partyrecon.org. It seems to me that most of the poeple that frequent this site are young Americans, and you are the ones that are going to inherit the shit-storm that the current ruling class is creating. Don’t let that happen! Join us today.

  34. alex
    October 24th, 2012 at 16:12 | #35

    haha yes sir you can use that saying. I just hope that people will start realizing that our hands are being tided behind our backs when it comes to The People running the govt.

  35. October 27th, 2012 at 10:42 | #36

    unseattheincumbent.com. That pretty much says it all!

  36. October 27th, 2012 at 14:13 | #37

    I think the picture is actually much worse than you are painting. I disagree, for example, with your assertion that smaller states gain attention because of their disproportionately higher voting strength. 31% of all states (16) have 5 or less electoral votes, which equals less than 2% of all those needed to win. As such, then chance of a small state being “in play” and will effect an election is slim to none. But what is not pointed out here is the horrible negative effect of polling.

    Polling, for example, tells us that California’s 55 votes, over 20% of those needed to win are squarely on President Obama’s side of the ledger. As such, the over 23 million eligible voters in Cali will not be addressed by either candidate. Add to it NY, also squarely on the President’s pocket and Texas, who will fall to Romney and you have just nullified the importance of 45% of all voters; and that is just plain wrong! . If the Electoral College did NOT exist, candidates would need to play to every state as every state would contain undecided voters. Boarders would mean nothing — and that’s the way it should be.

    Finally, yet another wonderful consequence is that political spending would become much tougher because it couldn’t be focused on just a few states. In fact, finding the best media outlets to reach those voters would be near impossible! As such, money’s influence on politics would be greatly diminished, and would surely discourage contributors who would no longer be guaranteed results. This, my friends, may be the strongest argument against the Electoral College yet.

  37. October 31st, 2012 at 13:05 | #38

    I think that Obama should lose cause he’s black

  38. Cuchy4free
    November 1st, 2012 at 09:01 | #39

    I think that there shouldnt be ELCTRORAL cOLLEGE SYSTEM because yall still gonna act like babys and agure this the type of shit that gets people killed you dumb ass niggas

  39. November 2nd, 2012 at 12:52 | #40

    Yeah fucking niggars are annoying there like burnt marshmallows no one likes them they shouldn’t have rights

  40. November 2nd, 2012 at 13:25 | #41

    That’s racist

  41. winner
    November 2nd, 2012 at 20:04 | #42
  42. winner
    November 2nd, 2012 at 20:06 | #43
  43. carmen
    November 4th, 2012 at 17:39 | #44

    I hope you are not an American. You surely do not act or speak like one.

  44. November 5th, 2012 at 14:12 | #45

    Of course I’m not I’m fucking Mexican but I hate niggars

  45. November 5th, 2012 at 14:15 | #46

    victor :

  46. November 5th, 2012 at 14:17 | #47

    Licker :

    victor :
    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=======================================dinofnwfpwofujnasssssssssssss22222222222222222222222222222222222222222@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@=========================================dinofnwfpwofujnasssssssssssss22222222222222222222222222222222222222222@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@=========================================dinofnwfpwofujnasssssssssssss22222222222222222222222222222222222222222@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@hi+im+bill@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@=========================================dinofnwfpwofujnasssssssssssss22222222222222222222222222222222222222222@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@……………..hi im billMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMxvhwghghethefberhethehehehehsrhjryjwyjwryjryuwuryjsrjsrjsrhsrhjsreuehweethethetfdrhhghuvubbuujnbububukghm sun eh h arthsrtuw

  47. November 5th, 2012 at 14:20 | #48


  48. November 5th, 2012 at 14:21 | #49

    I think I won

  49. November 6th, 2012 at 14:05 | #50
  50. November 6th, 2012 at 14:07 | #51
  51. lucy
    November 16th, 2012 at 13:00 | #52

    Go Diego, Go …. back to Cuba

  52. November 19th, 2012 at 15:50 | #53

    who is the idiot who thinks #1 is a real pro??? they have tiny voices in the election. they over whelmingly vote to the right yet they get no results. at the end of the day, we should go off of the popular vote!

  53. April 25th, 2013 at 21:24 | #54

    I enjoy reading through an article that can make men and women think.
    Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!