Starting the Conversation on the Electoral College

The Electoral College is a system made up of the presidential electors who give their official vote for President and Vice President of the United States.

Opponents of this system say it violates the one person, one vote rule, encourages candidates to skip campaigning in states that are firmly Democratic or Republican, and gives disproportionate power to voters in “swing” states. Supporters, on the other hand, say it follows the federalist system of government by protecting the role of states in presidential elections.

Click below to get an overview of the Electoral College, its pros and cons, and start asking questions about if this is still the best system to use.

So Here’s the Question

At your next gathering or in a group chat, use these questions to spark a discussion:

  • What are the benefits of the existing Electoral College system and what are the issues?
  • How would a simple popular vote improve over our current system? What new problems would it create?
  • What do you think about groups advocating that states should join a National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, in which they would pass state laws agreeing to award their electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote?
  • Do you have personal experience with not voting in your state because you feel your individual vote doesn’t matter?
  • People complain about “swing states” getting all of the attention during elections – would a change to a popular vote end this practice?
  • What can we learn from countries like Russia and Iran that use a popular vote system?

Something to Consider

Here’s a taste of what people are saying either supporting or opposing the Electoral College. We’ve intentionally left out the commenters’ names so you can focus on the viewpoint itself, not the speaker’s affiliations.

What the current system does more than anything is create artificial crises and unnecessary chaos."

We don't have problems with governors' races. The person with the most votes just wins."

The current Electoral College system creates a needed balance between rural and urban interests and ensures that the winning candidate has support from multiple regions of the country.”

This is an issue that people have a very short-term partisan way of looking at.”

For Deeper Exploration

Looking for more? These resources will help you:

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