The 2016 presidential election is behind us and many have taken to the streets in protest. Some have attended special church services, some have simply reached out to family and friends to share their anguish. Meanwhile, their counterparts have enjoyed a surprise victory and are elated to learn their candidate has emerged victorious in spite of dire predictions and rebuke.
The upshot is that criticism of the Electoral College by both sides has become the bold new national criticism. Surely it’s antiquated. Surely it must go. Surely we can do better.
And we can!
I must quickly point out that the Founding Fathers were not so terribly amiss as many may think.
Sure, we’re a much larger expanse of a nation, geography-wise, and we’re immensely more populated than the late 1800s. But the Electoral College mechanism works. So why did one presidential candidate (Hillary Clinton) win a majority of popular votes while the other candidate (Donald Trump) seemed to steal the election?
The culprit is not the Electoral College itself, but rather our stumbling arises out of the all-or-nothing approach we take when we tally the popular votes and convert them into Electoral Votes suitable for the Electoral College result. That step in the process (not the Electoral College) needs to be replaced.
The popular vote is currently a strong consideration by those criticizing the Electoral College. The thinking is that if we simply count the votes across the nation and go with the up-or-down consensus of the governed, that result should rule the day. Simple?
Actually, we’re a large nation with much diversity in which a simple popular vote would not serve us well. Consider where we live. Consider that only seven states currently contain nearly half of the population: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas and California. The focus of our vote would effectively rest among these few states. Less than half of us live in Washington D.C. and the remaining 43 states.
Also, each state has its own list of concerns and priorities. Imagine the 43 forfeiting these for the preference of the big seven. The popular vote would mean that states would not matter. Imagine a national vote without state borders. Our Founding Fathers had it right when they constructed a mechanism that calls for each state to effectively weigh-in.
The popular vote would foster an imbalance of voices (cultures, values and worldviews) that would effectively silence much of America. We need a mechanism that attends to balancing the large with the small while giving credence to the diversity this nation has.
Equal Voice Voting offers the best of solutions without requiring a constitutional amendment (visit equalvoicevoting.com and download the free book analyzing presidential elections from 1980-2012).
It’s a simple formula that converts a state’s popular votes into a proportional electoral vote that hews closely to the popular vote, and does not disenfranchise voters (as we currently experience). It gives each state its independent voice, honors the Founding Fathers’ intent and acknowledges the grand expanse of this huge nation’s diverse cultures, peoples, values and priorities.
It’s time to initiate legislation on a state-by-state basis so that we can enjoy a vote-capturing system without suffering (or relishing) a sudden November surprise. Suspense is one of the aspects that makes the presidential elections highly intriguing but we should also experience a confidence that translates into a continued pride of the country.
The exercise of our Electoral College should be a source of such confidence and can be if we simply modify how we count everyone’s vote. Contact your legislators and ask that they give Equal Voice Voting their strong consideration!
Written by Jerry Spriggs