believe that when they go to the polls every fourth year to vote,
they are voting for the president and vice-president of the United
States of America. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your vote
is really only a suggestion to some people (people you more than
likely have never heard of) as to who they should choose as the
president. A suggestion they are NOT bound to follow. Our founding
fathers thought that the general population [THAT'S
YOU AND ME, FOLKS] were too stupid to choose the right
person for the job of president.
to James Hamilton: “It was equally desirable, that the
immediate election should be made by men most capable of analyzing
the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favourable to deliberation...1”
The electoral college
what is the electoral college? According to dictionary.reference.com
the electoral college is:
( often initial capital letters
by the voters in each state
to elect the President
call me cynical but I think that's a little strange. I have
voted in every presidential election since Nixon
beat McGovern back in
'72 and not once do I
remember seeing any name on
the ballot running for
the office of elector. I put
my check-mark next to one of the guys running for
Answers.com gets it a little closer. They say:
electoral college is a body prescribed by the US constitution,
composed of delegates who pledge to vote for the Presidential
candidate who won the election in whichever electoral district that
particular delegate comes from, and whose vote officially elects the
national election is held in November. Then:
“...in the middle of December, the president and vice
president of the United States are really elected by the votes of
only 538 citizens...2” Unless
you're part of your state's government you probably have
never met these
538 good citizens or even heard
Who are these 538 people? How are they chosen? What are their
qualifications? Are they bound by law to follow the will of the
people? Let's look at these questions one at a time.
are the electors?
“Article II, section 1, clause 2 provides that no Senator or
Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under
the United States, shall be appointed an Elector“. The
14th Amendment also provides that anyone who “has engaged in
insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid and
comfort to its enemies are disqualified from serving as electors.3”
The way I read that (correct me if I'm wrong) the electors not
only are not voted into office, they're actually FORBIDDEN from
being voted for by the people. As long as they're not a convicted
traitor and are not an
elected official, they can be
chosen. Although I didn't see
it specifically mentioned, I'm
going to presume that there is an age qualification in there
somewhere. Probably at least
How are the electors chosen?
depends on the state, but normally the state legislatures
of course can lead to favouritism, cronyism and
quid pro quo. Do you trust all of your state representatives to
always act in your best interest? I know that mine don't.
What are their qualifications?
“Who are the electors” above.
That's it people.
No education standard. Nothing about good
character or intellect.
According to the constitution they could be a slobbering idiot or a
Are the electors bound to vote in line with the popular vote?
This is the most complicated
question of all. The short answer is: YES-
in 26 states and the District of Columbia and NO in
the other 24
gets more complicated because, in most
of the states where they are bound, it is only by pledge and not by
law. In other words, they promised to follow the popular vote when
chosen, but there is nothing holding them to that promise. The
fact is that no
elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.
me, one of the most disturbing facts about the electoral college is
the Winner-Take-All laws in all but 2 states. In other words, if one
candidate receives 49.9%
of the votes and
the other gets 50.1% in
a winner-takes-all state, then
49.9% of the voters in that state
get NO electoral votes for
their chosen candidate6.
In 1992, Ross Perot received almost 20% of the popular vote but received not a single electoral college vote7.
November of 2,000, Business Week said "Unabashedly
elitist, the Electoral College was created by the founding fathers in
1787 as a counterbalance against too much democracy and to protect
states from encroaching federal power8."
is this so important? So undemocratic? So bad for the country?
Glad you asked. Although it hasn't happened too
frequently, in several instances the winner of the White House actually
lost the national election9.
The last time it happened was the 2,000 contest between Al Gore
and George Bush.
can anything be done about this travesty called the Electoral
College? There are a lot of people trying to cure this boil that sits
festering in our republic.
group; the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement
among U.S. states that would effectively replace the current
electoral college system of presidential elections with a direct,
nationwide vote of the people. Another; RealDemocracy.com
is working to return ALL control of government to the people. A
lot of people think the time for change has come. Please contact them
if you agree and would like to learn how you can help10.
may have been a time when the electoral college was necessary but
that has long since past. In
this day and age
there is absolutely no reason why the people who THINK they're
electing their president shouldn't actually
the leader of the free world.
At least that's my
opinion. Let's hear yours.
another tidbit you might
find interesting. It is
completely possible to have a president and vice president who
were not elected by the people or the electors.
Don't think that can happen?
Gerald R. Ford was never elected to the position of either President
or Vice President of the USA. He was nominated to the post of Vice
President after the resignation of Richard
Spiro Agnew of Maryland and later became
President after the infamous Watergate scandal which saw the downfall
of Nixon. Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was Ford's vice president and HE
WASN'T ELECTED EITHER11.