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How the Electoral College Selects the President

The US citizens elect their president after every four years on the first Tuesday of November. Unlike other elections, whereby people choose their preferred aspirants directly by popular voting, the voters select the president through their electors in the Electoral College. McKinney (2020) asserts that “these electors are appointed by their respective parties, and cast their state’s vote for a presidential candidate based on what the people of that state voted for” (p. 14).

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The process begins with electors casting their ballots for president. Then the votes are taken to their respective states’ tallying areas for winners’ declaration after getting all the electoral votes in those centers. However, Maine and Nebraska use the Congressional District method in assigning their electors (McKinney, 2020). According to Amar (2017), an aspirant must garner 270 or more electoral votes to become the US president. Although many individuals argue that popular voting is more democratic than Electoral College, the latter method is better than the former since it involves all parts of the nation in choosing the president.

There are different types of benefits that the Electoral College provides for voters and the general public in the presidential election. Firstly, the system increases people’s confidence in the results, contrary to popular voting whereby contenders might obtain several votes without really getting the majority. An aspirant hardly receives half of the polls as it happened with presidents Kennedy and Clinton.

The two got 49.7 percent in 1960 and 43 percent in 1992, respectively, although they garnered most of the electoral votes (Maibach, 2016). This technique also prevents the possibility of calling for run-off elections or recounts, and so, this is proof that the method is working perfectly. Secondly, the Electoral College involves all parts of the nation in choosing the president. If popular voting was the only election method in the US, presidential aspirants could mostly campaign in densely inhabited places to obtain several votes (O’Connor, 2018). Nevertheless, winning the presidency requires candidates’ selection through Electoral College, which involves many areas that ensure building campaign platforms that focus on the whole country. This approach makes sure that whoever wins serves the entire nation’s needs.

The third benefit of the Electoral College is that it uses the electors instead of direct voters. This action safeguards against electorates who are not informed or educated and transfers the powers to electors who most probably have the relevant information for making the best choices. Furthermore, the technique prevents undue influence from states that have many people. In the US, “our founders sought to shield our presidential selection process from the passions of the crowd” (The Washington Post, 2021). As a result, this method discourages popular voting and lets the electors select the president. Therefore, Electoral College balances people’s will as it is against the risk of the majority’s oppression whereby the masses’ voices may drown out the interests of the minority.

In selecting the president, the popular vote gains its potential through the majority rule that allows electing candidates who have more than fifty percent votes. Most democratic countries pervasively use this rule in making decisions. However, as the US constitutional system aims for doctrine, it also seeks certain majority types. Therefore, “all 537 of those elected to national offices – the president, vice president, 100 senators, and 435 representatives – are chosen by majorities that reflect the nation’s federal nature” (Maibach, 2016). Electing the president directly through popular votes ensures that democracy is applied.

Popular voting encourages using simple majority rule whereby the winner is the contestant who receives more than fifty percent votes. According to Touchton et al. (2017), this election system allows the entire country’s citizens to vote for leaders. Therefore, the method represents people’s opinions as the chosen officials support their interests. Nevertheless, many individuals hardly get the required number of countrywide votes because many candidates vying for the presidency share them and reduce their percentages (Maibach, 2016). Therefore, contenders with people’s interests should support one another to ensure that they do not divide the votes too much, and presidential aspirants that people prefer win through the popular ballot.

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The best method for selecting the president is by way of popular voting. Amar (2017) supports this assertion by arguing that a democratic process is the one that allows people to elect their preferred aspirant. The process of choosing the president ought to be determined by first participating in the primaries and caucuses through secret votes. The parties should then hold national conventions to assist them in finalizing their choice of one presidential candidate.

Finally, the citizens should go for general elections and select the president using popular votes. The Electoral College is unique because it is not democratic, and the US founders included it in the Constitution to encourage autocracy (Trees, 2016). Citizens’ will should not be frustrated, and so, they must be allowed to elect their president directly (Trees, 2016). Popular voting provides power to the public without giving it disproportionately to smaller states’ individuals. Under the Electoral College, some states have more than twice voting influence than others, making the US citizens elect the “wrong victor” (Beinart, 2016). For this reason, it is highly essential to eliminate the Electoral College by amending the Constitution and continuing with popular voting only.

In the US, the presidential election process begins democratically, since people start by participating in the primaries and caucuses through secret voting. The parties then hold national conventions that assist them in finalizing their selection of one presidential candidate. However, even though citizens go for general elections, authorities frustrate their will by choosing the president through the Electoral College.

When individuals elected President Trump in 2017, experts warned that the US would not attain some of its objectives. Okonofua et al. (2020) assert that they had cautioned people that “reversal of the US progressive policies will have hindering effects on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals” (p. 1). Consequently, Donald promoted inhumanity by practicing vices that included social injustice, racial inequity, and gender inequality, which is a sign of autocracy. As a result, Trump showed that presidents chosen through the Electoral College represent oppression in the US.

Even though the Electoral College has continuously thwarted the people’s will, the 2020 elections ensured that presidential selections work. This system helps by making all the states count in presidential voting (Samples, 2000). Furthermore, “in public discourse, the more democratic American government is, the better. The people are supposed to rule” (Beinart, 2016). The 2020 elections did not keep the sitting president and Congress in the process but put the states in charge. This happening means that the Electoral College finally became democratic. Therefore, the incumbent president can now give citizens a say in the elections and stop attacking them.

In conclusion, popular voting is good, but Electoral College continues becoming better. The latter’s benefits comprise the sitting president no longer attacking others and might give citizens a say in the elections. Moreover, this system involves all parts of the nation in choosing the president without caring whether a state is densely populated or not. The method further safeguards against the uninformed or uneducated voters as it transfers their powers to electors who most probably have the relevant information for making the best choices.


Amar, A. R. (2017). The inaugural Abraham Lincoln lecture on constitutional law: Electoral College reform, Lincoln-style. Northwestern University Law Review, 112(63), 63-81.

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Beinart, P. (2016). The Electoral College was meant to stop men like Trump from being president. The Atlantic. Web.

Maibach, M. C. (2016). A defence of the Electoral College. Edsitement. Web.

McKinney, M. (2020). Electoral College Reform: Past, present, and future implications of the United States Electoral College system [Unpublished dissertation]. The University of Akron. Web.

O’Connor, B. (2018). Following the crowd: The effectiveness of campaigns’ appearances during the New Hampshire primary season [Unpublished master’s thesis]. The University of New Hampshire. Web.

Okonofua, F., Eimuhi, K., Omonkhua, A., Ntoimo, L., &Balogun, J. (2020). The outcome of the US presidential elections: Reforming the reproductive health agenda and women’s rights. African Journal of Reproductive Health, 24(4), 1-6. Web.

Samples, J. (2000). In defence of the Electoral College. Cato Institute. Web.

The Washington Post (2021). Questioning the Electoral College and ‘one person, one vote’. The Washington Post. Web.

Touchton, M., Borges Sugiyama, N., &Wampler, B. (2017). Democracy at work: Moving beyond elections to improve well-being. American Political Science Review. Web.

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Trees, A. (2016). Electoral College is no way to show off democracy: Column. Stories worth knowing. Web.

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