The Formation Of The Electoral College

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The preamble to the Constitution of the United States begins with the recognizable phrase, We the people, implying that the form of government laid out in the constitution will be representative of the peopler’s will. The formation of the Electoral College in Article II, Section 1, leads to the conclusion that this may only indirectly be the case. The establishment of the Electoral College was the result of compromise as the members of the Constitutional Convention struggled to determine how the President would be elected.

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While some Founders called for a popular vote, most were at best, reluctant democrats (Jillson pg. 21).

Many did not believe that the common people capable of making the best choice for such an important office in the newly formed government. The Brearley Committee was formed to resolve how the President would be elected. The Brearley Committee proposed that an Electoral College be formed to vote for the President. To balance the interests of large and small states, the Electoral college would give one electoral vote to each state for the for each of the members that state has in Congress. A simple majority would decide the victor. The original proposal provided that the Senate, in which state representation was equal would select the President from the top five candidates should the Electoral College not reach a majority. When objections that the addition of this power to the Senate made it resemble the aristocracy of Great Britain that America had revolted against, it was decided that the final vote would be made by the House.

While the Constitution establishes the Electoral College the states are free to determine the manner in which electors are appointed. There are currently 538 electors in the Electoral College, one for each member of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as three who are designated for the District of Columbia. The three additional votes for the District of Columbia were added in 1961 with ratification of the 23rd Amendment. Despite its name, the electoral college is not a place. Instead, it is a method that the founding fathers created as a compromise between those who believed that the president should be elected by Congress and those who believed the president should be elected by a popular vote. Many people tend to forget that the Electoral College was created to ensure fairness and is written into the constitution, often misunderstanding what it can and cannot do. To put things into perspective: a voter in Wyoming has over three times as much power in the Electoral College as a voter in California. For every 134,783 people they get one electoral college vote, while in California 1 vote represents 410,647 people. California has 55 total votes in the the college but in a winner takes all system if 22 electoral college goes to Republican and the rest to Democrat,

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