Kyle W. Bell
October 25, 2011
Americans support scrapping the Electoral College in favor of the popular vote by a wide margin. A Gallup poll shows that 62 percent of U.S. adults would support amending the U.S. Constitution to replace the current system, which has allowed popular vote losers to move into the White House. Only 35 percent support keeping the current system.
The Founding Fathers designed it to limit the influence that a majority of voters could have on an election and ensure that smaller states would have larger voice. The number of electors to the Electoral College is determined based on a state’s number of House members plus their two members of the Senate. Small states like Wyoming are greatly over-represented in the Electoral College, where there are 187,875 voters in the state for every electoral vote. Large states like California are disadvantaged, where there are over 675,000 voters per electoral vote.
The closest that America came to abolishing the Electoral College came in 1969 after Richard Nixon received 301 electoral votes to Hubert Humphrey’s 191 in the 1968 presidential election, despite only winning the popular vote by 511,944. The House of Representatives voted 339 to 70 in favor of a constitutional amendment. President Nixon voiced support for the amendment, but it ultimately failed in the Senate where senators from smaller states opposed the amendment. At the time, 80 percent of Americans supported scrapping the Electoral College and was not based on partisan allegiance. Today, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to oppose replacing the Electoral College – likely due to the 2000 election – although even a majority of Republicans support the amendment.