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A Gallup poll conducted on October 24th of 2011 shows that a mere 35% of Americans support the electoral college. Conversely, 62% of Americans now support the implementation of a popular vote system. Likewise, Affirmative strongly stands by the resolution that direct popular vote should replace electoral vote in presidential elections. First, let us define electoral vote. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “A system of voting wherein a body of electors is chosen to elect a politician”. Let's explore why this resolution should be passed:
Contention 1: The electoral college was founded for reasons that now no longer apply.
The electoral college was created in a time where communication was slow and limited. The Founding Fathers were worried that Americans, come election time, would only vote for those who came out of their state or region. There was little advertising and campaigning because at the time, it was considered taboo for a gentleman to campaign for office. The saying was, “The office should seek the man, the man should not seek the office”.
This would lead to many candidates cropping up, each only winning a minority of the total electorate. With these many candidates all having very small support bases, no candidate would really have “national support". That would mean that the president would not be fully representative of the nation. With the immense change in how knowledge spreads, this is no longer a problem. Customs have changed as well. There is no taboo surrounding campaigning. These facts show that a large part of the electoral college's original purpose is now obsolete.
Technically, electoral voters are not obliged to vote how the public wants them to vote. Since the U.S. electoral college's inception, 86 members have defied the public and voted based on their own personal convictions. In 1836, 23 VA electors conspired to vote against the public will. In many places, there is nothing stopping something like this from happening once again. Only 24 states require that electors vote as they should, but these are only backed by rarely enforced punishments such as a small slap-on-the-wrist fine or a misdemeanor charge. The Constitution guarantees a persons right to vote, but when these electors that are chosen to vote for them do not vote the correct way, this right is walked all over. This goes directly against popular sovereignty, a founding principle of the U.S. In a popular sovereignty, the general public is the source of any and all governmental power. When the public's vote essentially means nothing, the people are no longer the source of said power. Contention 3: Electoral voting belittles the minority.
This is an especially large problem with the American Electoral Voting system. The U.S. Constitution was put in place to protect the minority. Electoral voting completely goes against that. For example, let's look at blacks in America. According the U.S. Census Bureau, 57% of African Americans now live in the south. If you examine any election map, you'll notice that the South historically votes very Republican. However, African-Americans are historically liberal. 95% of black voters voted Democrat in 2008, 93% voted democrat in 2004, and 90% voted democrat in 2000. This is a significant amount of votes that in reality, do not effect anything. With such a large white conservative population in the southern U.S., the minority votes are completely overshadowed. In the current winner-take-all system, these votes really do not count. In theory, presidential candidates don't even have to gain favor of many minorities. Should a popular vote system be enacted, these minority voters will finally have a real say in who their president will be.
In conclusion, to continue the use of an electoral voting system be absurd. Electoral college systems are now irrelevant, their original purposes moot. In the U.S., the electoral voting system goes against it's very founding principles. It violates popular sovereignty, it belittles the minority, the very thing that the Constitution was put in place to protect, and frankly, it takes away the power of a citizen's vote. If we continue this outdated practice, we continue squandering the fundamental rights of the average citizen.
Negative strongly stands against the resolution that direct popular vote should replace electoral vote in presidential elections. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “A system of voting wherein a body of electors is chosen to elect a politician”.
Let's examine why this resolution should not be passed:
Not all tyrants take over a country in a hostile manner. Hitler was elected. He was a smooth-talker and had ideas that appealed to all of Germany. Some of his more terrible ideals had been around since 1923. That was the year when he wrote Mein Kampf, outlining what he wanted to do to the Jews. He was an eloquent speaker that grabbed the voter's attention. If Germany had an electoral voting system, this could have been avoided. Some of the more educated citizens were able to see through his smokescreen. Charles Taylor of Liberia did the same thing. He was an elected dictator. This could very well happen in America as well. When the average IQ of the developed countries was calculated, the U.S. ranked 22 out of 22 with an average IQ of 98 (IQ and Global Equity). That's a mere 28 points away from mental retardation. Furthermore, a test (Program for Int'l Student Assessment) was administered to 500,000 students in over 40 countries to gauge intelligence. America's 12th graders ranked near dead last behind all other developed countries in the world. This shows that Americans could very easily make a poor choice when selecting a president. The electoral college is there to protect us from this.
Cities contain a massive number of people for such a small area. Without an electorate vote, these cities would have immense amounts of power in presidential election. Approximately 80% of Americans live in metropolitan areas. If we were to abandon the electoral college in the United States, candidates would only have to campaign in a handful of large U.S. cities to win the popular vote. If this were to happen, the president would not truly be representative of the whole country. He would just be representative of say, six large cities. The current electoral system protects the interests of all citizens, rather than just one large constituency. For example, farmers make up less the 2% of the total population, but in some places make up large percentages of the state population. Because of this, presidential candidates must focus on many different places and interests when campaigning.
As evidenced in 2000, when there is a close election in an electoral voting system, recounts can be confined to small areas. If we are to pass this resolution, then we usher in the possibility of a great debacle. With direct popular enacted, if a recount is required, the votes of the entire country will have to be counted once again. Not only would this take massive amounts of time, but also massive amounts of effort. This is not the only problem that could arise. In a popular vote system, the winning candidate requires over 50% of the vote. The electoral college does a fantastic job of keeping third party candidates from interfering in elections. If we were get rid of the the current system, third parties could gain a bigger foothold in elections, leading to a much, much larger chance of a run-off election occurring. This would've happened in both 1992 and 1996 had the electoral college not been in place. Both major candidates received less than 50% of the popular vote due to Ross Perot drawing third party votes, but Bill Clinton still managed to win the majority of the electoral college votes. With a popular vote, two problems would've been brought about by this:
1) A runoff election would've been required. This, like a recount, would consume time, effort, and money.
2) If a runoff were required, less people would come out and vote, especially the fifth of the electorate who originally voted for Perot. This threatens the legitimacy of the eventually elected president.
We live in an ever-changing world. Old ways of doing things are constantly being replaced with the new. However, this need not be the case for everything. The electoral voting system has been in place and working for 224 years and counting. As stated before, this system clearly has the upper hand to a system using direct popular vote. This being said, I implore you not to pass this resolution.
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