by Lindsey Hubbart
The Constitution of the United States is a truly remarkable document that weaved the foundation of our country.
It is an essential guide for how our government ought to run, but there is one particular element that I believe we must re-evaluate: the Electoral College.
We are incredibly lucky to have the right to vote in this country and we must take advantage of that privilege.
However, I don’t think that we are utilizing our right to the fullest when some votes seem to count more than others.
As a student in Washington state, it doesn’t even matter whom I vote for. Because of King County and other counties on the west side, all 12 of our electoral votes go to the Democratic candidate. As a result, it seems as if my vote doesn’t even count.
According to George Edwards, author of the book “Why the Electoral College is Bad for America”, it discourages voter turnout because people know that their vote won’t make a difference if they’re in the minority or if they’re a state that is clearly going to go for a candidate, it won’t make a difference either and it doesn’t help the candidate to get additional votes.”
Voter turnout is extremely low in the United States; according to the George Madison University United States Election Project, it was only 61.6 percent in 2008.
Our state is so solidly democratic that candidates do not even bother to campaign here. The candidates spend nearly all of their time in swing states such as Ohio.
According to National Journal, Obama’s official campaign committee spent $72,762,477 in Ohio alone. Mitt Romney’s official committee spent $43,198,708.
These numbers do not include spending by other super political action committees (PACs). Millions of dollars were spent in other swing states as well, because candidates knew that these were the votes they would need to win.
Some people argue that the Electoral College causes the candidates to ignore the small states because they won’t have enough impact on the election. However, Edwards writes, “Not only do they ignore small states, but they ignore large states. They ignore California, they ignore Texas and they ignore New York. I mean, the three largest states are ignored. And they’re ignored because they’re not competitive. And that’s due to the Electoral College.”
We are all Americans, and therefore, every vote should be equally important. We should not support a system that encourages the candidates to focus on only a small handful of states and ignore the rest.
I am glad that this election ended with Obama taking the Electoral College as well as the popular vote, because I believe that the person who wins the popular vote should always become president.
Unfortunately, it is possible for a candidate to win the popular vote but not the Electoral College, as was the case in the 2000 election.
The Founders set up this system because they feared tyranny of the majority, as shown in Federalist Paper No. 10, but times have changed. It’s time to switch to a popular vote and have every vote count equally.
Hubbart is a sophomore majoring in economics. Comments can be sent to email@example.com.