Archived Opinion

Let’s do away with Electoral College

To the Editor:

In the recent election Joe Biden received a majority of 7.1 million popular votes and 74 Electoral College votes. With this overwhelming number of votes, he could have lost the election if his opponent had received 270 of the 538 total electoral votes. With only a 65,000-vote swing from the 7.1 million majority this could have happened. Five times in history presidential candidates have won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College.

With the four-year period between presidential elections and the absence of printed matter people have limited knowledge of the Electoral College. Very few people are aware there was a strong affiliation between the Electoral College and slavery.

In 1787 selected state delegates convened in Philadelphia for a Constitutional Convention. The greatest challenge facing them was approving a system for electing presidents. Many of them were opposed to Congress being involved and also opposed to electing by popular vote. Dissension arose to the Electoral College idea because slaves, who couldn’t vote, would be counted in the tally of the overall population of the states. This count would determine the number of electors voting for a presidential candidate. Eventually, there was a compromise that enslaved blacks would count as three-fifths of a person when the population count was tabulated. With this, the Electoral College was ratified by the delegates.

It appears that the strong resistance to electing a president by popular vote was the power they could attain by excessive support of the people.

At the time of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 political parties didn’t exist. As these parties evolved, power was divided on a more equal basis. As this came about and after the Civil War the Electoral College should have been abolished and election of the president by popular vote enacted into law. When I vote I want my vote to be counted in the overall total and not killed by an electoral vote.

Charles Miller

Waynesville

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