The Electoral College, the select few that are tasked with the sole purpose to elect the president of the United States, however, they are shrouded in mystery and confusion.
The Electoral College was formed by the U.S. Constitution in Article II Section 1 where it states that the states are given their amount of electoral votes by adding the number of representatives and senators a state has then by adding three more people to that count.
For Texas, we have 38 electoral votes and presidential candidates need 270 electoral votes to win. Theoretically, a candidate only needs to win 11 states to get 270, but that has never been done before.
There are also only six states that have more than 20 electoral votes. This seems highly unfair and is vice to our democracy that these states and the citizens within can control the election.
However, this is wrong because states that have fewer people have more influence over their electoral votes. Take Vermont and Texas for an example.
Vermont has roughly 630,000 people and only three electoral votes while Texas has 38 electoral votes and 29.9 million people. Therefore, it takes 210,000 people to influence one electoral vote in Vermont while it takes 786,000 people to influence one electoral vote in Texas.
Therefore, smaller states have more power over their electoral vote than larger states. However, that power is balanced out by 48 states having a winner-take-all system.
The rules mean that if a candidate wins the popular vote in a state then they win all electoral votes for that state.
Maine and Nebraska use the district system where the states are split up into different districts and the candidate who wins the popular vote in that district wins one electoral vote. The remaining electoral votes are given to whoever receives the most votes statewide.
Confused yet? Good, because even after pouring over countless videos and reading several scholarly papers I am still confused by this archaic practice.
However, here is the most troubling thing that can happen with the Election College. A candidate can win the Electoral College votes but not the popular vote, as we saw in the 2016 election, and the electors in the Electoral College can cast a vote for the candidate who did not win the state, also known as a faithless elector.
According to Vox, there have only been four presidents who have won the Electoral College but not the popular vote. This shows that the election is truly a numbers game and if candidates treat it as such, then they will the presidency.
America and her citizens are the ones who control our government, we are a democracy, and if a president does not win the people over, then they should not be our leader. This also brings us to the next major flaw with the Electoral College: faithless electors.
Those elected to the Electoral College are supposed to cast their vote according to who won the popular vote in the state they represent. However, there is no federal law binding them to have to vote the way the people voted.
According to the National Conference of State Legislator (NCSL) website, only 32 states have passed laws binding electors to vote on the way the people vote, Texas is not one of those states.
NCSL states that in 2016, there were seven electors that did not vote how their perspective states' citizens voted and of those seven, two were from Texas.
In 2016, Texas went to President Donald Trump, however, one elector voted for another Republican instead of Trump. The other did something that has not happened since 1972, the elector voted across party lines for a Libertarian.
With electors not being legally bound to the will of the people and with the Electoral College is the sole group to put a candidate into the Office of the President, our legacy of being a democracy is put at risk. I understand we are a representative democracy, but when the people do not even have a say on who can or cannot be an elector, then the power and the will of the people are undermined.
Only an amendment can change or abolish the Electoral College. We, the people, formed this great union 244 years ago and in doing so, we created a government for the people and by the people. Now more than ever, the people need to take back the power we have lost over the centuries.