Number the electoral votes allocated to each state.Source: USA.gov, “Presidential choice Process,” usa.gov (accessed Nov. 18, 2016)

The controversy over the continued use of the Electoral college resurfaced throughout the 2016 presidential election, once Donald Trump shed the basic election come Hillary Clinton by end 2.8 million votes and also won the Electoral college by 74 votes. The official general election results show that Trump received 304 Electoral university votes and also 46.09% that the famous vote (62,984,825 votes), and also Hillary Clinton received 227 Electoral university votes and 48.18% of the renowned vote (65,853,516 votes). <1>

Prior come the 2016 election, there were four times in US background when a candidate won the presidency in spite of losing the popular vote: 1824 (John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson), 1876 (Rutherford B. Hayes end Samuel Tilden), 1888 (Benjamin Harrison end Grover Cleveland), and also 2000 (George W. Bush over Al Gore). <2>

The Electoral college was developed in 1788 by write-up II the the united state Constitution, which likewise established the executive, management branch the the united state government, and was modification by the Twelfth modification (ratified June 15, 1804), the Fourteenth modification (ratified July 1868), and also the Twenty-Third revised (ratified Mar. 29, 1961). Due to the fact that the procedure because that electing the president is part of the Constitution, a constitutional Amendment (which calls for two-thirds approval in both homes of congress plus approval by 38 states) would certainly be compelled to abolish the Electoral College. <3> <4> <5> <6>

The founding Fathers developed the Electoral College together a compromise between electing the chairman via a poll in Congress only or via a well-known vote only. The Electoral university comprises 538 electors; every state is allowed one elector because that each Representative and Senator (DC is enabled 3 electors as created by the Twenty-Third Amendment). <3> <4> <5> <6>

In every state, a group of electors is chosen by every political party. On choice day, voters selecting a presidential candidate room actually spreading a vote for one elector. Most states use the “winner-take-all” method, in which every electoral votes are awarded come the winner that the popular vote in the state. In Nebraska and Maine, the candidate that wins the state’s overall popular poll receives 2 electors, and one elector from each congressional ar is apportioned to the popular vote winner in the district. Because that a candidate to success the presidency, he or she have to win at least 270 Electoral university votes. <3> <4> <5> <6>

At the very least 700 amendments have been suggest to change or abolish the Electoral College. <25>

On Monday Dec. 19, 2016, the electors in every state met to vote for President and also Vice president of the united States. Of the 538 Electoral university votes available, Donald J. Trump obtained 304 votes, Hillary Clinton got 227 votes, and seven votes saw others: three for Colin Powell, one for belief Spotted Eagle, one for john Kasich, one because that Ron Paul, and also one for Bernie Sanders). ~ above Dec. 22, 2016, the outcomes were certified in every 50 states. ~ above Jan. 6, 2017, a share session that the us Congress met come certify the choice results and Vice president Joe Biden, presiding as President that the Senate, check out the certified poll tally. <21> <22>

A Sep. 2020 Gallup poll discovered 61% of Americans to be in favor of abolishing the Electoral College, increase 12 points indigenous 2016. <24>For the 2020 election, electors poll on Dec. 14, and delivered the outcomes on Dec. 23. <23> on Jan. 6, 2021, Congress held a joint session come certify the electoral university votes throughout which several Republican lawmakers objected to the results and pro-Trump protesters stormed the united state Capitol sending Vice president Pence, lawmakers and staff come secure locations. The votes to be certified in the early on hours the Jan. 7, 2021 by Vice chairman Pence, proclaiming Joe Biden the 46th united state President. Chairman Joe Biden was inaugurated with Vice chairman Kamala Harris on Jan. 20, 2021. <26>

Should the United claims Use the Electoral university in Presidential Elections?

Pro 1

The establishing Fathers enshrined the Electoral university in the united state Constitution due to the fact that they believed it to be the best method to choose the president.

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Using electors rather of the renowned vote was intended to safeguard against uninformed or uneducated voter by putting the last decision in the hand of electors most most likely to possess the information important to make the ideal decision; to stop states with larger populations from having undue influence; and also to compromise between electing the president by popular vote and also letting Congress select the president. <7> <8> <9>

According come Alexander Hamilton, the Electoral college is if “not perfect, that is at the very least excellent,” due to the fact that it ensured “that the office the President will never autumn to the lot of of any type of man that is not in an eminent level endowed through the requisite qualifications.” <7>

The Founders wanted to balance the will of the populace versus the danger of “tyranny of the majority,” in i beg your pardon the voices that the masses can drown out minority interests. <10>

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Pro 2

The Electoral university ensures the all components of the nation are connected in choosing the president of the unified States.

If the choice depended specifically on the famous vote, then candidates might limit marketing to heavily-populated locations or certain regions. To victory the election, presidential candidates need electoral votes indigenous multiple regions and therefore they build campaign platforms through a national focus, definition that the winner will actually be serving the requirements of the entire country.

Without the electoral college, teams such as Iowa farmers and Ohio factory workers would certainly be ignored in favor of pandering come metropolitan areas with higher population densities, leaving rural locations and tiny towns marginalized. <11> <12> <13>

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Pro 3

The Electoral College guarantees certainty to the outcome of the presidential election.

If the choice were based on popular vote, it would certainly be feasible for a candidate to obtain the highest variety of popular votes without actually obtaining a majority. <11>

This occurred with chairman Nixon in 1968 and also President Clinton in 1992, once both males won the most electoral votes when receiving simply 43% of the renowned vote. <11> The existence of the Electoral university precluded calls because that recounts or needs for run-off elections.

The electoral process can additionally create a bigger mandate to give the president more credibility; for example, chairman Obama received 51.3% that the popular vote in 2012 yet 61.7% that the electoral votes. <14> In 227 years, the winner that the famous vote has lost the electoral poll only 5 times. <2> This proves the mechanism is working.

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Con 1

The factors the starting Fathers created the Electoral College space no longer relevant.

Modern technology and politics parties enables voters to get essential information come make informed decisions in a method that might not have been foreseen by the founding Fathers. <23>

While Alexander Hamilton in 1788 saw the electors together being “free from any kind of sinister bias,” members of the Electoral college are now selected by the politics parties and they are expected to vote along party lines regardless of their very own opinions about the candidates. <7> <4> <16>

Just as number of voting legislations that restricted direct democracy in the Constitution have actually been modified or discarded transparent history, so have to the Electoral College. As a result of constitutional amendments, women and also former servants were offered the ideal to vote, and also Senators, once appointed by state legislatures, are currently elected straight by famous vote. <15> The angry presidency was once awarded to the jogger up in electoral votes, however the procedure was readjusted over time come reflect the truth of elections. <17>

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Con 2

The Electoral College offers too lot power come \"swing states\" and allows the presidential choice to be determined by a handful of states.

The two key political parties can count on winning the electoral votes in specific states, such as California for the autonomous Party and Indiana because that the Republican Party, without worrying about the actual popular vote totals. Because of the Electoral College, presidential candidates only have to pay fist to a minimal number of says that can swing one means or the other. <18>

A Nov. 6, 2016 episode of PBS NewsHour revealed that “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have actually made an ext than 90% that their campaign stops in just 11 so-called battleground states. The those visits, nearly two-thirds took place in the 4 battlegrounds through the many electoral votes — Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and North Carolina.” <19>

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Con 3

The Electoral university ignores the will of the people.

There space over 300 million human being in the united States, yet just 538 world decide that will be president. In 2016, Hillary Clinton winner the well-known vote by an ext than one million votes, however still lost the election on electoral votes. <14>

Even president Donald Trump, that benefitted native the system, declared after the 2016 election that he trust presidents need to be preferred by famous vote: “I would quite see it wherein you went with basic votes. Friend know, you get 100 million votes and also somebody else gets 90 million votes and you win.” <20>

Just together in 2000 when George W. Shrub received under nationwide famous votes than Al Gore, Donald Trump will certainly serve together the president of the united States regardless of being supported by under Americans than his opponent. <2>

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Take Action

1. Hear to a Constitution center podcast exploring the pros and cons that the Electoral College.

2. Explore the Electoral college via the US nationwide Archives.

3. Think about the American Bar Association’s fact examine on whether the Electoral College have the right to be abolished.

4. Consider how friend felt around the issue prior to reading this article. After reading the pros and also cons on this topic, has actually your reasoning changed? If so, how? List two to three ways. If your thoughts have actually not changed, list two to three ways your much better understanding the the “other next of the issue” currently helps you much better argue her position.

5. Press for the position and also policies you assistance by composing US national senators and also representatives.


1.Kiersten Schmidt and also Wilson Andrews, \"A Historic number of Electors Defected, and also Most Were claimed to poll for Clinton,” nytimes.com, Dec. 19, 2016
2.Rachael Revesz, \"Five Presidential Nominees who Won well-known Vote but Lost the Election,\" independent.co.uk, Nov. 16, 2016
3.National Archives and also Records Administration, \"The 2016 Presidential Election,\" archives.gov (accessed Nov. 16, 2016)
4.National Archives and Records Administration, \"About the Electors,\" archives.gov (accessed Nov. 16, 2016)
5.National Archives and Records Administration, \"Presidential choice Laws,\" archives.gov (accessed Nov. 16, 2016)
6.National Archives and also Records Administration, \"What Is the Electoral College?,\" archives.gov (accessed Nov. 16, 2016)
7.Alexander Hamilton, \"The Federalist Papers: No. 68 (The setting of Electing the President),\" congress.gov, Mar. 14, 1788
8.Marc Schulman, \"Why the Electoral College,\" historycentral.com (accessed Nov. 18, 2016)
9.Melissa Kelly, \"Why go the establishing Fathers produce Electors?,\" 712educators.about.com, Jan. 28, 2016
10.Hans A. Von Spakovsky, \"Destroying the Electoral College: The Anti-Federalist National famous Vote Scheme,\" heritage.org, Oct. 27, 2011
11.Richard A. Posner, \"In Defense of the Electoral College,\" slate.com, Nov. 12, 2012
12.Jarrett Stepman, \"Why America supplies Electoral College, Not well-known Vote because that Presidential Election,\" cnsnews.com, Nov. 7, 2016
13.Gary Gregg, \"Electoral university Keeps elections Fair,\" politico.com, Dec. 5, 2012
14.John Nichols, \"Obama\"s 3 Million Vote, Electoral university Landslide, majority of claims Mandate,\" thenation.com, Nov. 9, 2012
15.Joe Miller, \"The reason for the Electoral College,\" factcheck.org, Feb. 11, 2008
16.William C. Kimberling, \"The way of selecting Electors,\" uselectionatlas.org (accessed Nov. 18, 2016)
17.Sanford V. Levinson, \"A usual Interpretation: The 12th Amendment and the Electoral College,\" blog.constitutioncenter.org, Nov. 17, 2016
18.Andrew Prokop, \"Why the Electoral university Is the pure Worst, Explained,\" vox.com, Nov. 10, 2016
19.Sam Weber and Laura Fong, \"This system Calls for well-known Vote to recognize Winner,\" pbs.org, Nov. 6, 2016
20.Leslie Stahl, \"President-elect Trump speaks to a Divided nation on 60 Minutes,\" cbsnews.com, Nov. 13, 2016
21.Lisa Lerer, \"Clinton Wins popular Vote by nearly 2.9 Million,” elections.ap.org, Dec. 22, 2016
22.Doina Chiacu and also Susan Cornwell, \"US congress Certifies Trump’s Electoral university Victory,” reuters.com, Jan. 6, 2017
23.Congressional study Service, \"The Electoral College: A 2020 Presidential choice Timeline,\" crsreports.congress.gov, Sep. 3, 2020

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Jonathen Easley, \"Gallup: 61 Percent assistance Abolishing the Electoral College,\" thehill.com, Sep. 24, 2020
25. Fair Vote, \"Past Attempts at Reform,\" fairvote.org (accessed Oct. 1, 2020)
26.John Wagner, et al., \"Pence Declares Biden Winner of the Presidential election after Congress lastly Counts Electoral Votes,\" washingtonpost.com, Jan. 7, 2021