The Electoral College Needs To Change

A system that has been deeply flawed for as long as weve used it, the electoral college needs modifications in order to fairly represent the people

A system that has been deeply flawed for as long as we’ve used it, the electoral college needs modifications in order to fairly represent the people

Sarah Mack, Staff Writer

The election is in two weeks and tensions couldn’t be higher. The nation is determined to prevent another situation as detrimental as the voter turnout in 2016, when around 43% of eligible voters didn’t cast a ballot.

But perhaps the next step in improving the voter turnout isn’t just trying to appeal to voters, but to change the system itself–the electoral college.

The electoral college has been causing problems for a while now, though it’s been a topic that politicians seem to be hesitant to address. Many voters from 2016 who did not vote cited that they didn’t vote because they didn’t think their vote would matter. And although this is false, there is unfortunately, a kernel of truth to this belief.

Now please don’t misunderstand what I wish to say. I could not be more frustrated to be seventeen during an election year, and you have to make your voice count. If you are eligible to vote, I implore you with the most fervent energy I can muster to go out and vote if you have not done so already — your vote does matter. 

But the unfortunate fact remains that depending on where you live, your vote will not count nearly as much on a national scale as we would like to think it does. 

A vote from someone like you or I in Lake Forest can be important to the state, but on a national scale, their vote means next to nothing compared to someone who lives in a swing state such as Wisconsin or Pennsylvania. Say what you will, but that doesn’t sound particularly fair to me.

In fact, there are five times in recorded history when a presidential candidate has lost the popular vote, yet still been elected to office — the most recent instance being the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.

How can we parade around and act like we’re a symbol of the power of democracy when the system we use can silence the wishes of the people?

We don’t need to get rid of the electoral college, but it definitely needs to change. We have gradually updated and improved every function of our government over time since we first gained independence in 1776, but as far as I can see, the electoral college–one of the most important mechanics of our administration–has not been touched. 

When it was established, the electoral college was designed to protect the United States from the tyranny of mob rule, specifically from the perspective of a minority, but now all it seems to do is unfairly tip the scales of someone’s vote. The power of the majority and the minority isn’t equal anymore; instead, it favors the latter. Because this system has remained untouched, the electoral college now gives a majority of voting power to rural areas despite the fact that 80% of the population in the United States lives in some kind of urban environment today.

Which begs the question, maybe the end goal shouldn’t be trying to convince people to show up and cast their ballots.

Perhaps the real problem that we need to fix isn’t the voters–it’s the system.