The Electoral College

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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The electoral college is one of the most unique election systems in use in the world. Instead of using a popular election or a legislative body to elect the leader of the United States, a state have a group of people called electors who actually elect the President. Every state has a set number of electors. There are essentially three or four groups of electors, each chosen by their political party. How many electors is determined by the number of representatives that state has in Congress. Arizona, for example, has eight electors because it has six representatives in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate. This guarantees that every state has at least three electors. A popular election in each state determines which party the electors will be chosen from, and all electoral votes from the state will go to that party. The electoral college is the best way to elect the president because the problems presented by the opposition are greatly exaggerated, and the electoral college diminishes such problems of opposing systems.

Today the electoral college has become an unpopular system due to reasons greatly exaggerated by its critics. One such problem is that the "winner can lose," meaning that the winner of the popular election can still gain enough electoral votes to win the presidency. However, this has only happened three times in the 212 years that the United States has used this system. These three elections were in 1876, between Rutherford Hayes and Samuel Tilden, in 1888, between Benjamin Harrison and Grover Cleveland, and in 2000, between George W. Bush and Al Gore. However, these two elections share a very important similarity: they were extremely close races. The critics emphasize that the winner of the popular election may still lose the presidency, but they...

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