American History / The Election Process

The Election Process

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Autor:  anton  21 August 2010
Tags:  Election,  Process
Words: 1839   |   Pages: 8
Views: 718

The Evolution of the Election Process

The election process in the United States is a valuable process to the election of the proper officials to satisfy the people. The people run the country which is why we live in freedom because we control what happens with major decisions by choosing whom we want to decide these decisions. The whole country goes to vote on a certain day and by the end of that day we will vote to select who will run the country, state, county, or city political positions. The most complex decision and one with the biggest impact are selecting who the President of the United States shall be. We examine what their views are and who would do a better job. Then vote in our respected states with a certain number of electoral votes depending upon the population in that state. Those votes go toward the overall count of the candidate and help choose who will reach the magic number of 270 electoral votes first. This hasn’t always remained the same since the beginning but the basic idea behind this type of voting system was created by the views of the Founding Fathers of our country.

The Founding Fathers had to examine all the necessary information to make sure that their process meets the needs of all of their countries’ citizens. They faced the idea of how to choose a president that had such diverse needs and wants. They had to realize that the smaller states were not happy about the idea of a national central government because their rights and powers would be limited. The factor of their being 4,000,000 people spread all over the Eastern coast made them realize that national campaigns were impractical. They felt that political parties were dishonest and evil due to the British

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political parties. This led them to have to find a way to accommodate everyone without the use of political parties and a national campaign.

The Founding Fathers came up with several different ways that they could elect the president. The first idea was to have Congress select the president but this idea was rejected because many felt this would lead to corruption within the government because members of Congress. It could have also led to a bad balance of power between the legislative and executive branches of government. Another idea was to have state legislatures select the president, but was also rejected due to the fact that it could erode federal authority. Popular vote was then propositioned but declined because they felt not enough people would know about the candidate and thus vote for someone else leaving no one with the popular vote. A so-called “Committee of Eleven” whose idea was to have the president elected through a College of Electors was the idea that was selected to pick the president.

The idea for picking the president came from the same way that the Pope is selected by using Roman Catholic Church of the College of Cardinals. The structure of the Electoral College can be traced to the system used by the Roman Republic. In that system the richest people were divided into groups of 100 called Centuries. Each group was entitled to cast one vote in favor or opposing certain measures. This is exactly how the Electoral College system works in America by having electors based on the size of the state cast their vote for the candidate that is chosen in that state. The systems are extremely similar and have virtually the same advantages and disadvantages. These

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similarities are not accidental; the Founding Fathers were heavily educated in ancient history and its lessons.

The Founding Fathers filtered through the first design to elect a president in four years. They determined that the first way they wanted to have it run, which was 2 electors for each state plus the number of representatives. There were many more ideas in this design but it ultimately needed to be changed. The reason for the change was because of the result of a tie between Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson. Since this was exactly what they wanted to avoid with the Electoral College they had to adopt the Twelfth Amendment. This would prevent a tie by casting one vote for the president and one vote for the vice-president so there wasn’t two votes for the president from each elector. Political parties were the main reason this change had to be implemented. Over the year small changed have occurred in the selection of Electors. The decisions to pick electors were left up to the states to decide and most chose either to elect them by popular vote or to just pick them themselves.

The current Electoral College maintains the same framework as the original. The only change is that there are now fifty states and 538 electoral votes. Each state is allowed two electors for the number for senate seats in that state, always two, plus the number of its U.S. Representatives. On the Tuesday following the first Monday in November people cast their votes for the candidate they think would do the best job for the country. Whichever candidate wins the popular vote in each state gets all of that states electoral votes, Maine and Nebraska are exceptions where the areas are divided. On the Monday

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following the second Wednesday in December the State Electors meet to cast their two votes, one for president and one for vice-president. The votes are then transported to the President of the Senate who reads them on January 6th. At noon on January 20 the president and the vice-president are sworn into office.

As stated above the larger states are allocated more electoral votes and every ten years their population is measured and it is determined if they will receive additional electoral votes. The idea of this Electoral College has been sustained to many critics who think that this process is not fair. These critics are trying to gain support to get rid of the electoral process.

The arguments against the Electoral College are for the college to be eliminated and to elect the president based of popular vote. They have four basic arguments to do away with the college: the possibility of electing a minority president, the risk of so-called "faithless" Electors, the possible role of the Electoral College in depressing voter turnout, and its failure to accurately reflect the national popular will. This has most recently been shown in the recent election with Bush winning the Electoral College and Gore winning the popular vote. The election process was never created to reflect the popular vote. If the popular vote were used then the candidates would not visit the smaller less populated states and only try to gain the votes from the metropolitan areas.

People that are in favor of the Electoral College have good reasons that should be considered before jumping to conclusions of how it is unfair. The basic ideas that are in support of the college are: contributes to the cohesiveness of the country by requiring a distribution of popular support to be elected president, enhances the status of minority

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interests, contributes to the political stability of the nation by encouraging a two-party system, and maintains a federal system of government and representation. The Electoral College helps to maintain a two-party system in the United States. This is true simply because it is extremely difficult for a new or minor party to win enough popular votes in enough States to have a chance of winning the presidency. To eliminate the Electoral College in favor of a nationwide popular election for president would strike at the heart of the federal structure laid out in our Constitution and would lead to the nationalization of our central government.

The fact is that the original design of our federal system of government was thoroughly and wisely debated by the Founding Fathers. The views of the States are more important than political minority viewpoints. And the collective opinion of the individual State populations is more important than the opinion of the national population taken as a whole. The Founding Fathers intended for the Electoral College to suit the needs of everyone and leave everyone happy. To change the college would primarily change the nature of our government and might well bring about consequences that even the reformers would come to regret.

In my opinion I think that we should keep the Electoral College. I feel that it keeps everything honest and the way that the country should be equal. If the candidates were only worried about winning the popular vote to win the election then wouldn’t they spend most of their campaign dollars in heavily populated areas and states? This would keep smaller states with less population such as Wyoming sitting watching the candidates

campaign in places like Los Angeles. I think that to keep the country a whole as a nation

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and to not divide the nation that the Electoral College was the perfect way.

The Founding Fathers didn’t just decide suddenly to use this system they filtered through numerous other systems of government before they came to the conclusion that this would help the country prosper. Without the Electoral College and the votes delegated to each state we’d see all the candidates in the large cities. The way that it is now the smaller states definitely have an impact on the overall election. Bush won the election with 271 electoral votes, which is one over the number needed. This couldn’t have been accomplished without the campaigning in the smaller states. Even if the states only have two votes that was still what Bush needed to get him over the top. I feel that the system is perfect the way it is. The Founding Fathers did great research in examining every process proposed and picked the perfect one that will keep the country unified.

The Electoral College has been used for over 200 years and over fifty presidential elections. The process has helped chose every president since the beginning of our nation and has had virtually no flaws. The few that occurred in the beginning were correctly. If the Electoral College was abolished and changed most see that the new proposals would cause more confusion and serve to cause more problems than the current one. The Electoral College has served its purpose for two centuries without a hitch. If it’s working correctly then there should be no use in changing it now.

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Bibliography

Kimberling, William C. ‘The Electoral College’ Jackson County Election Board. Website. http://jceb.co.jackson.mo.us/fun_stuff/electoral_college.htm

Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr. ‘History of Presidential Elections 1789-1968.’ New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1971.



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