The disadvantages are it gives room of electing president with simple majority, voters democratic rights are violated; the president may not show the will of the people and inability of some electors voting for the respective leaders they were elected for. The matters raised are weighty on either side but we conclude this by saying it is worth amending the Electoral College to correct its defects rather than changing to direct voting. MERITS AND DEMERITS OF ELECTORAL COLLEGE
The electoral college of the United States of America is a process of electing presidential candidates based on the number of popular votes and representatives of congress. The voters elect the electors or representatives who will in turn elect the president candidate. Each state is allocated 2 senators irrespective of vote population while the members of the House of Representatives are elected based on the population of the states. The history of Electoral College dates back to the Roman Empire. It has been used in United States for over 200 years.
It is considered a moderate way of checking the election by popular vote and congress (Electoral College, 2008) The Electoral College system is governed by several laws which include the Article 2 section 1; 12th amendment and US Code Title 3 Chapter 1 of the Constitution. There have been arguments for and against the Electoral College system since its introduction. Opinion polls have been conducted to determine its popularity over the years for example 69 percent of lawyers favored its abolition in 1987.
It was earlier reported that 58 percent of voters in 1958 agreed to eliminate it. Similar results were recorded in succeeding years where 81% and 75% were obtained in 1968 and 1981 respectively. These opinion polls were associated with the system favoring biparty system and excluding third party (Electoral College, 2008). Leip (2003) discuss explicitly merits and demerits of the Electoral College system. We will highlight the merits of the Electoral College in the United States of America.
First the Electoral College had significant contribution in ensuring there is fair distribution of support of the populace to each president thus bringing a cohesive country. This restrains highly populated states from determining the president elected every time. However this may favor election of president with votes slightly above the opponent even though it is checked by the requirement of popular distribution of votes against the support by popular votes. Indeed the EC system works to correct the defects arising from popular votes.
Murphy (2003) adds by saying that the defects in EC are intentional and have a purpose because without it the smaller states will not be heard in national issues. Secondly the EC is ensures the status of smaller groups and minority interests are maintained such that the presidency is seen as an institution that takes account all interests of people and special groups in the country. Hence smaller states will also have a say in expressing their presidential choice (Leip, 2003).
Third, EC help in stability of political parties by encouraging biparty system and excluding third party parties from unseating the majority. Although third parties are present in America they cannot raise the masses that cause national imbalance in the political climate. Hence the presidency is guarded against metamorphism of radical policies from third party. It then dictates the political coalitions at political level rather than governmental level. Otherwise if popular electorate is allowed there will be situations of regional and extreme divergent demarcations (Leip, 2003).
Fourth, the federal system is essentially captured in the democratic principles which require sharing of power at all levels of government. With these we see the House of Representatives representing interests and issues of states based on the population strength while the Senate has equal number of representatives in the congress that articulate issues of the state on equal footing. The Electoral College then represents the institution of presidency and echoes the values and interest of minority and special interest groups.
To eliminate the EC is like democratizing the political system and essentially rendering the structures of federal and letting the re-genesis of central government (Magleby, Light, & Peltason, 2008). It worth to note that the political parties would not allow the change of the system to because of the interest they hold in it (Mmarks, 2000). This is reinforced by Murphy (2003) sentiments insisting that vote irregularities can only be halted by EC since it will only deal with states in question rather than the whole states which pose the question of financial and legal constraints.
On the contrary opposition to the elimination of the Electoral College continues to mount fro example it was termed as either anchoritic or archaic or ambiguous because it allows for the winner to bag all votes thus the need for reforms or abolition of it all together. These are some of the reasons for eliminating the EC and allow the electorate popularity. One is that a president can be elected by minority votes for instance where three candidates or more share votes and cause a situation which no candidate is able to garner more than 50 percent of the votes like the elections of 1824, 1948 and 1968.
This can result to cases where one candidate votes are given to another or absentee of significant votes in the Electoral College. The resultant scenario will cause the EC to use the 12th Amendment. This may lead to conflict of interest (Leip 2003). Second, the EC has given leeway to voters transferring their rights to electors who later do not vote according to their wishes commonly referred as faithless fathers. For example in 1988 Lloyd Benson was voted for by a democrat elector from West Virginia.
Although past experiences has shown that the votes of faithless fathers do not have significant impact on the presidential election but sends negative signals to the electorate. Mmarks (2000) states that the American government has violated the basic principle of democracy of vote counts similarly the EC makes other votes irrelevant. For instance in it gives too much power to local constituencies than other others. Third is that the EC has an element of disincentive to electorates because there is no difference between populous state and low populated states.
Hence voters are likely not to turn out in large numbers. However this fact does not take account other elections in the states such as governors and legislators (Leip 2003). Fourth the Electoral College does not reflect the will of the voters because it seems to under represent other regions especially urban than the rural. For example the electoral voters of six states in 1988 had same 3. 1 million votes and 21 electors similar to 9. 6 million votes from Florida.
This shows discrepancy in representation making votes from this populous state less significant (Magleby, Light, & Peltason, 2008). In the same line Electoral College seems to have bias towards the exclusion of third party making it difficult to rise above regional or state precincts. This is because it cannot garner majority votes to give it the strength to be allocated electoral votes. The mechanisms applied gives the winner of majority votes to walk way with all votes rendering this party irrelevant.
In order to be able to articulate its issues it has to relax its divergent views and collaborate with popular political party. Maxwell & Hardaway (2004) argue that during the writing of the constitution by the founding founder in the 18th century most voters were illiterate, but at the present time the citizens are educated and well informed to make a choice of their own so it is better to have direct counting. They also add their sentiments on the need to reduce the due advantage of small states over big states instead all votes should count in the elections.
This will make candidates to value each vote and concentrate of pulling gaining support of all voters (Maxwell & Hardaway, 2004; Magleby, Light, & Peltason, 2008). However the supporters of the EC argue that despite the few defects noted during 2000 presidential elections the EC does not need to be abolished but strengthened. This is because it has stayed for long time and had the principle of unifying the country able to rally a broad support and gain extensive roots of political parties.
This in turn gives reduces the time which could have been used for vote recounting as in the case of 2000 presidential elections (Maxwell & Hardaway, 2004). CONCLUSION The Electoral College is a process by which the voters elect representatives known as electors that in turn elect the president. The Electoral College is governed by the laws and constitution of United States of America. Although defects have been sited in the application of the Electoral College arguments have been raised in support and against it.
Propositions for its abolition include chance of electing president with simple majority, voters democratic rights violated; the president may not show the will of the people and inability of some electors voting for the respective leaders they were elected for. While supporters for not abolishing it reason that it is one of the foundations of federalism and democratic principles that does not allow central government to be in place. It distributes popular votes; enhance country cohesive nature and helps in political stability.
The matters given are weighty it can be concluded that amendment to the Electoral College is necessary to correct its defects rather than changing to direct voting.
Electoral College. (2008). U. S. Election College. Retrieved April 21, 2008, from http://www. archives. gov/federal-register/electoral-college/faq. html#qualifications Leip, David. (2003). Pros & cons of EC. Retrieved April 21, 2008 from: http://uselectionatlas. org/INFORMATION/INFORMATION/electcollege_procon. php Magleby, O.
Light, B. , & Peltason, C. (2008). Government. 7th ed. USA: Pearson. Maxwell, K. J. , & Hardaway, R. (2004). 2000 aftermath. New York Times. Retrieved April 21, 2008, from http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m0BUE/is_3_137/ai_n17207622 Mmarks. (2000, November 17). Princeton news. Retrieved April 21, 2008 from: http://www. princeton. edu/main/news/archive/A94/81/30Q00/index. xml Murphy, K. (2003 December 11). EC is necessary. Retrieved April 21, 2008, <