Thomas Jefferson and James Madison advocated reform to government “whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.” Since the Constitution’s ratification in 1788, five amendments have been necessary to secure voting rights for citizens. A sixth is now needed to establish vote equality.
Art Vidrine, Hyattsville
Is one person, one vote really so dangerous? If I vote red in a blue state, my vote doesn’t count; if I vote blue in a red state, my vote doesn’t count. I don’t give a damn how my state votes, but I do care that my vote counts.
George F. Will asserted that the electoral college encourages national campaigning. What incentive does a blue candidate have to campaign in a deeply red state and vice versa? On the other hand, if every vote counts, there is every incentive to campaign nationally.
Federalist 68, in defense of the electoral college, states that “the process of election affords a moral certainty, that the office of President will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications” and that “it will not be too strong to say, that there will be a constant probability of seeing the station filled by characters pre-eminent for ability and virtue.” Did the 2016 election meet these expectations?
Derwood Staeben, Arlington
Although principled opposition to the electoral college has picked up steam since the elections of George W. Bush (2000) and Donald Trump (2016), it is not new. Granted, some of the current criticism, as George F. Will wrote, is grounded in fierce opposition to Mr. Trump’s reelection in 2020, but that isn’t the only reason to challenge this non-majoritarian anachronism. Superficially, the electoral college gives more influence to 32 “advantaged” states that have proportionately more electoral votes than population — and is usually cited as a reason, by Mr. Will and others, that those states, mostly red and heavily rural, oppose its abolition.
While that might be the perception, the assertion of extra influence is questionable. Few of those states are competitive states to which presidential candidates must appeal in elections. Why should voters in noncompetitive states take the time to vote for president when there’s virtually no chance their votes will matter?
In addition to allowing a president to be chosen by a minority, the electoral college can also demotivate citizens from voting — two good reasons to support the National Popular Vote initiative.
Sid Groeneman, Bethesda
There are many reasons to get rid of the electoral college. However, the most important reason is that it is not working the way the Founders intended. Having just thrown off the rule of one powerful person, the founders worried that another unscrupulous person could take power in this new country. Therefore, the electors were supposed to evaluate those running for the presidency and not vote in a power-hungry fool. The electoral college is not working.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Leta Mach, Greenbelt