November 23rd, 2007
10:39 AM ET
6 years ago

Is the Electoral College a political dinosaur?

Watch this report about the Electoral College.

(CNN) - Remember Florida's hanging chads, the Florida recounts in 2000, and waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide Bush v. Gore?

In this report, CNN's U.S. Affairs Correspondent Jill Doughtery takes a critical look at the Electoral College.

Is the Electoral College a political dinosaur that ought to be scrapped in favor of electing the President through a direct national popular vote? Or, does the institution still serve an important purpose in modern times? What do you think?


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Pam Everett, WA

    The electoral college as it was originally designed no longer serves its original purpose. If anything it undermines a just and fair vote – the only remnant of 2 centuries gone by. It is the one remaining method of voting for an elected position, that of president, in this country and should be eliminated. History would be different today if we adhered to the "one man/woman, one vote" that guarantees equality to all in the political process.

    November 23, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Paul G. Whiting NJ

    Just imagine having to recount all 50 states not just one.
    What a mess that would be!

    November 23, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Pete Golden, CO

    There is nothing good about the electoral college. It is an archaic group that should be dissolved. This is one of many of the representative government's downfalls. In this technologically driven society we live in with, the golden age of technology, there is no reason we should not have a direct vote for the leader of the free world. Imagine where we would be today without the electoral college...

    November 23, 2007 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. j reed Plano texas

    They have tried to take everything else out of the constitution. This will probably be their next move.

    What have the democrats done while in office. Nothing except try to destroy others.

    November 23, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. aaron, minneapolis, mn

    Yes the electoral college system should be scrapped. We didn't have the means to cast a popular vote back in the day. With today's technology we can certainly get everyone's vote in. And then the saying of everyone's vote counts will hold true.

    And while we're at it lets get a popular vote on rather or not Bush should be impeached. I'm positive Bush would be out of office in a jiffy if we were to hold the vote next week. And that is even going with the 2/3 popular vote needed. The US people hate Bush, the world hates Bush, why do we keep him in office?

    November 23, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. Kristine, Newburgh, New York

    One person, one vote. Fullstop. Americans need to believe their vote counts, that it has meaning. The Electoral College takes away that voice now. I wait for the learned scholars and historians to explain the purpose and importance of the EC throughout the years. Don't waste your time. I know why they thought it was important when America was new–to "protect" us hot-headed voters from ourselves, from electing a bad President. Well, look what happened since the EC has been in place all these years? How many bad presidents were Selected? And how different, how much better would America be without the electoral college. Abolish it now. One person, one vote.

    November 23, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Laura Tulsa OK

    I think it serves a purpose because it lets sparsely populated states have a voice. If you go popular vote you may as well just hold the elections for New York, California and Illinois voters.

    November 23, 2007 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. Danny C Tn

    I say do away with the electoral college. Say for example "the people" that being us tax paying U.S citizens vote the majority for X president. The electoral college is suppose to vote in favor of us. But they dont have to vote what we say. They could put into power their favorite etc. SO it should be decided by OUR VOTES not the electoral college. That is the only fair way. What is the point of voting if it doesnt really count and is ultimately up the the electoral college. there is some food for thought. What is the point of the popular vote if our votes don't really count. Think about it people. Our votes should determine who is pres. RON PAUL FOR PRES 08'

    November 23, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Joel, Pittsburgh, PA

    If the US were still a nation of autonomous states, and the federal government had little affect on the lives of its citizens, the electoral college would still make sense. This is no longer the case. The president's decisions now impact us as individuals, not as citizens of the several states; therefore, we should elect this president directly.

    November 23, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. William Rose, Grants Pass, Oregon

    Popular vote is the only way to get the candidate of the peoples choice.

    November 23, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  11. Charles Hundley Round Rock, Texas

    The electoral college ensures that big population centers such as New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Franscisco, et al do not elect the U.S. president. It was intended to do so by the founding fathers. We cannot eliminate it lest we become a more polarized nation than we are now. We are a republic. Let it be...

    November 23, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  12. Steve, Lyons, CO

    It's time the people decided the presidency via popular vote.

    The Electoral College is simply a remnant of larger states during the Constitutional Convention not wanting to lose an inordinate amount of power to smaller states.

    November 23, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  13. Dan Kamyck, Boston MA

    Hanging chads have nothing to do with the electoral college. Hanging chads were the result of incompetent statewide leadership in Florida.

    The electoral college is a necessity in our union of 50 states. We remain a union, correct?

    As a federalist union, the electoral college is a valid and worthwhile institution. Musings which call for change to our federal institutions are based on subjective anecdote.

    All of us live in 50 states. Our federal elections are based on that fact.

    November 23, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  14. Pete, Chicago, IL

    Wasn't Electoral reform something Hillary said she was going to work towards, the same day she won her Senate seat?

    Yep.

    What sorts of progress has she made?

    November 23, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. Chris, Pensacola FL

    It should be replaced with another form of election. I do not think the popular vote should be in effect either.

    It is not fair in the least to have the overpopulated socialist cities picking the president for rural farmers. The two have totally different needs.

    I think we should NOT have a president. Just have reps and senators to come together once in a while to check on the state of things. In this age, there is no need for central office. Who really wants authority anyhow?

    November 23, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  16. Frankie, Hog Wallow, South Carolina

    I am one of many disenfranchised voters. My vote simply does not count in my solid red state. I have no representation of my choosing. Why bother even going to the polls? Overall, the percentage of people who vote in this country is laughable. Wouldn't more people vote IF their vote truly counted? I vote to do away with the Electoral College. Not that my vote counts anyway.

    November 23, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    First: the Electoral College is designed to insure an informed voter base; so not deciding the presidency on whims and fancies, or facts found spinning and solely oroginating from the local news mediums.

    Second: the Electoral College seems off, and is: because the number of federal legislative members is off. One representative for every thirty thousand people; that ratio determines what one person can read when receiving correspondence from the maximum number of persons petitioning in that representatives district.

    Finally: the State has been instilled with the responsibility of determining the method of Electoral College appointing and so is expected to choose people of trusted judgments, respected criticism, and the due diligence required to be informed. An informed voter knows if any Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate has held a criminal record, has ever been fired from a job, and knows of any other criteria or trait which is deemed appropriate for use in a human resource style interviewing process.

    The President is bound to a term of service for a set number of years; the President is a hire individual, who hires the people where you work, and who understands what work is actually required to be regularly completed. Who would you deem best for appointment to the United Nations? Who speaks the most languages or who deals best with strangers; if you can't answer please understand that the question is no different than the question 'for whom should be The President', and he also has a panel of appointed people to make such choices.

    Here in Canada we have a Governor General to balance Parliamentary power; one still appointed by royalty.

    Parties corrupt the election process.

    November 23, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  18. dennis wojciak marysville, wa

    The political atmosphere is too charge to come up with a neutral ammendment.

    November 23, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  19. Robert Burns, Ocean Beach (San Diego), CA

    Oh, this touched on a sore point, pseudo-States and territories posing as real States. I'm from Ohio and have long lived in California. Why should cow patches like Delaware, Conn., & MD, or all-but-unoccupied Montanna have equal representation in the Senate or the Electoral College beyond matters fairly directed at States? They should be glad that they have a closer government-citizen ratio or higher land-citizen ratio and not impose their wills disproprotionately on others.

    November 23, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  20. Christian, Tampa FL

    The electoral college is obsolete, but it is undeniable that it provides some order.

    Perhaps it should become constitutional law that a President must win both the popular vote and an electoral majority, and that recounts or revotes will occur until one candidate wins both. That may seem chaotic, but we can NEVER have another 2000 election again.

    November 23, 2007 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  21. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    First: the Electoral College is designed to insure an informed voter base; so not deciding the presidency on whims and fancies, or facts found spinning and solely originating from the local news mediums.
    Second: the Electoral College seems off, and is: because the number of federal legislative members is off. One representative for every thirty thousand people; that ratio determines what one person can read when receiving correspondence from the maximum number of persons petitioning in that representatives district.
    Finally: the State has been instilled with the responsibility of determining the method of Electoral College appointing and is so expected to choose people of trusted judgments, respected criticism, and the due diligence required to be informed. An informed voter knows if any Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate has held a criminal record, has ever been fired from a job, and knows of any other criteria or trait which is deemed appropriate for use in a human resource style interviewing process.
    The President is bound to a term of service for a set number of years; the President is a hire individual. Who hires the people where you work, and who understands what work is actually required to be regularly completed by a president to authoritatively hire? Who would ‘you’ deem best for appointment to the United Nations: so, who speaks the most languages or who deals best with strangers; if you can't answer please understand that the question is no different than the question 'for whom should be The President', and he also has a panel of appointed people to make such choices.
    Here in Canada we have a Governor General to balance Parliamentary power; one which is still appointed by royalty. Expect a ‘casted’ prince brought up anticipating leadership...

    Parties corrupt the election process and the democratic government method. A State appointed Electoral College can only be as pure as the State legislature. Nationally congruent parties found in State legislatures are bias even when corralled by federal laws.

    Who would appoint a Congressional representative based on who they would nominate Speaker of the House... Our Parliament is voted in for that final Speakers position(The Prime Minister), we elect a Prime Minister via a party and overlook the representative we are actually meant to cast ballots for; be glad your nation has the checking power of the presidency. The popular vote is for the populous' district Representatives, the Presidency is to coveted and important a position to allow a media coupe.

    November 23, 2007 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  22. Allan Camden, SC

    Incompetent electoral officials in Florida?? The correct word is "corrupt". As for the electoral college, what is the problem with direct vote? Nobody can claim that big cities vote 100% for anyone, and the fact of the matter is that the college is subject to massive manipulation. Witness the proposal in California!

    November 24, 2007 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  23. Dan S., Elmhurst, IL

    While I certainly can see merit in the original intention of the electoral college system, I feel it is a detriment to our country today. It wasn't designed to work around political parties.

    My suggestion is that if there is a legitimate concern over using just a straight-up popular vote, then we should keep the E.C., but get rid of the "winner takes all" component, as Maine & Nebraska have already done. Individual votes would have a more direct effect, then.

    November 24, 2007 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  24. Sam, IA

    The electoral college is a safeguard keeping the larger population centers from establishing all policy.
    As far as the hanging chad icon CNN chose to post with this story,anyone with a brain larger than a postage stamp could understand this was a filed die stamping the ballots and it would have been easily proven. It still could with access to some of the infamous ballots. Thus the wink and nod from Jeb when his brother called him about his Florida loss.
    Be that as it may the electoral college votes the will of the majority of the voters in thier respective states and is a safeguard against facism.

    November 24, 2007 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  25. Dave, Plano, Tx

    The EC needs to go. The way the system works now is bogus and I believe that if every voter's vote actually meant something turnout at the polls would skyrocket. If more Americans vote for candidate "A" then that should be the winner. It is really pretty simple and would result in a government that is truly representative of the majority of Americans.

    November 24, 2007 04:47 am at 4:47 am |
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