The United States is presently in a crisis and a debate regarding electoral politics. Debating a change to the Constitution of the United States requires the conversations of politicians and policymakers. These conversations must trickle into the normal discourse of citizens. Ensuring that people understand federal reform in the context of a presidential election is essential to renewing faith and trust in our republic.
Reforming the Electoral College is a feasible and politically realistic solution in the current political climate. Reform options need to be discussed both at the state and federal level. Most importantly, discussions must continue around whether a winner-take-all system for each states’ electors is beneficial or detrimental to our democratic process. Is a proportional division in accordance with the popular vote the best option? A promising step is the “Fair Representation Act” which supports ranked-choice voting and election education.
In states where the final vote is close, it is unfair to the majority vote that a winner-take-all system exists. The final electoral map is not representative of the final vote tallies within states. This is best reflected by Georgia, traditionally “red,” going “blue” in our presidential election this November. According to the WSJ/AP, the final count of votes that guaranteed President-elect Biden’s victory in the state was 2,474,507 votes to President Trump’s 2,461,837. The margin of victory was only slightly more than 14,000 votes. Georgia depicts the flaws of a winner-take-all election, as President-elect Biden still won the nationwide popular vote with 81,150,731 votes, which was approximately 7 million more than President Trump. In another example, if Texas’ electoral votes had been proportionally split, an election result could have been reached quicker. More states are “purple” or politically diverse than one would think if the traditional maps and system are reconsidered.
Reforming the Electoral College is a multi-faceted debate as it is currently infeasible that an amendment revising or abolishing it will reach the required three-fourths threshold. Currently, it is far too politically advantageous for some states to be firmly “red” or “blue”. This means that electoral calculations only account for certain battleground states. The bigger picture must be considered. Proportional division of electors according to the popular vote puts many states into play that are currently ignored. Votes are given more weight nationwide. A discussion of how many electors each state gets to divide the popular vote most accurately is imperative. Ranked-choice voting may offer the solution.
It may appear that my stance is not in the middle of this debate, as much as it is an array of ideas that recognizes political reality. Respecting the popular vote of both the majority and minority is imperative. Faith needs to be restored to our republic, and the current winner-take-all system complicates the Electoral College system that few understand. Proportionality and discussion of our options are necessary to ensure reform and avoid hasty proclamations or entrenched traditionalism.