One Person, One Vote: Why the United States Must Abolish the Electoral College


Photo courtesy of Hill Street Studios.

Grace Richardson, News Editor

With the 2020 election only weeks away, many Americans are scrambling to turn in their ballots. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, but not the presidency. The results of the 2016 presidential election left many Americans confused. After all, how could Donald Trump win if Hillary Clinton received more votes? A system known as the Electoral College allowed Trump to become the 45th President of the United States. The debate over the existence of the Electoral College began before it was even created, and it is easy to see why.

The Electoral College was created by the Founding Fathers to prevent uneducated voting. At the time, many eligible voters (land-owning, white men) did not have access to education and transportation, making it hard for some Americans to vote in the first place. The Electoral College was a solution that allowed congressional representatives to decide the outcome of an election. The Electoral College also benefited slave owners in the southern United States. In the 1800s, the populations of the North and South were approximately equal but one-third of the Southern population was enslaved and, therefore, ineligible to vote. Slave owners, under a system dependent on the popular vote, had less influence than the North. Of course, the South had a smaller voting population, so this would make sense. The Electoral College recognized the Northern and Southern populations as equal, but this was inaccurate as the voting populations themselves were unequal. A three-fifths Congressional compromise benefited the slave owners, making their voices more pronounced than they otherwise would have been. About 93 percent of the nation’s slaves were working in a few southern states, and the Electoral College increased the South’s congressional delegation by a whopping 42 percent. Centuries later, we still rely on this system rooted in racism and inequality that is no longer relevant in the 21st century.

I challenge everyone to think about the Electoral College and the impact it has on our democracy. All Americans in the 21st century should have access to public education, transportation, and online voting. Voting and education are more accessible than they have ever been in the history of this country. Not only is the Electoral College outdated, but it threatens the very principles the United States was founded upon. As Americans, we should all have equal voices, and we must abolish this system if we want to become a true government of the people. Every American should get one vote, and one vote only.