The Instigator
Con (against)
5 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

The Electoral College Should Be Abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/4/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 844 times Debate No: 33282
Debate Rounds (4)
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This debate is on whether the electoral college should be eliminated. I will be arguing in opposition to the resolutio , while my opponent will be arguing in favor of it. Because Pro is arguing for the policy change, BOP lies on Pro.

Electoral College - The institution by which the President and Vice President of the United States are selected.
Abolished - Completely (de facto and de jure) repealed and replaced by a different process

Round structure:
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening statements (no rebuttals)
Round 3: Clash/new arguments
Round 4: Clash/closing statements (no new arguments)

1. Going outside the debate structure results in forfeiture
2. In the event of forfeiture, the side that did not forfeit wins and should receive any and all points from voters


I accept this debate. The Electoral College needs to be removed.
Debate Round No. 1


To many, the Electoral College is an aberration. The fact that the world's only superpower can decide its leader by a system that isn't the popular vote rubs many the wrong way, especially when the result can drag into controversy. Some reject the Electoral College entirely on that basis. However, the fact of the matter is the Electoral College serves a number of purposes, and it does a good job at them.

What many people neglect is that the United States is fundamentally a nation of states - not a nation divided into numerous provinces. In creating the system to elect Presidents, the founders envisioned the states determining the President - the Constitution provides the states can decide how to allocate their electors, meaning each state has an incredible degree of ability to decide what to. Do as a matter of fact, it wasn't until 1832, the 12th Presidential election, when all states (except for South Carolina) determined their electors by some degree of popular vote.[1] By having the states determine the President and Vice President, candidates are forced to campaign country-wide. For example, take a look at the map from the 2000 election:

George Bush won 30 states for 271 electoral votes, while Al Gore won 20 states plus the District of Columbia for 266 electoral votes (1 voter from D.C. abstained). Gore attracted little support from a broad swath of the country, most likely due to his reputation as a liberal, and in turn suffered despite a slim popular vote lead. George Bush, on the other hand, lacked support from highly urban states, as well as states with heavy amounts of union workers and large amounts of Democrats. This election gave a huge amount of power to states - 7 states, worth a collective 59 electoral votes, were within a 10,000 vote margin. Gore barely won the Democratic-leaning states of Oregon and Wisconsin, which Bush made a strong push for, while also winning in the swing states of Iowa and New Mexico, the latter by only 366 votes. Bush won the crucial swing state of Florida, in addition to pulling an upset in the politically moderate New Hampshire.[2] Bush won the election due to his focus on both New Hampshire and Florida, which also served to moderate his stance as a 'compassionate conservative'. In fact, both candidates ran as relative centrists - Gore as the center-left successor to the popular Bill Clinton. Many candidates have tried to pin the other as extremists - notably, Carter (unsucessfully) in 1980 and Obama (successfully) in 2012. This moderation effect also puts a great emphasis on the smaller states, while still respecting the power of the big states.

Another major aspect of the electoral college is it both supports and prevents third party runs. Third parties gain an excellent chance for support with the electoral system, with some (like Ralph Nader) even swinging elections. Third parties may force an issue towards public awareness, such as Ross Perot's push for a balanced budget in 1992 and 1996.

One unsung advantage of the electoral college is it presents a way to adapt to the death of a candidate. Rather than forcing another election, electors could push to elect the vice president or move the election to the House and Senate to decide.

Finally, the electoral college allows states to decide who to elect without requiring a change to the Constitution. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a major effort to change, and if it works it would ensure a popularly-elected President. That is the greatness of the system - it allows itself to change over time, rather than forcing a major national debate on the subject.

2. results


The EC should be abolished for two main reasons.

The first reason is that it is outdated and obsolete. Back when the Electoral College was created, it was difficult for the average person to learn about politics. Candidates could not possibly travel around the country speaking to everyone and there were very few other ways to learn about a candidate. Because of this, most people were uneducated about politics and could not be relied upon to give an educated vote. The Electoral College was created so that the people voting for president would be educated. Today, on the other hand, things are different. It is not difficult for someone to learn what a candidate stands for or what his or her views are. Anyone with a TV, computer, radio, or smartphone can know what each candidate advocates. This means that there is no longer any need for an Electoral College.

The next reason that the EC should be abolished is that is an inaccurate measure of the nation"s votes. For example, in the 2000 election, Bush won Florida"s 25 electoral votes by only 900 popular votes. That means that the 2,912,253 people that voted for Gore had no effect on who was president because all of their states votes went to Bush. [1] This is a bad system because even though 48.84% of voters in Florida voted for Gore and 48.85% voted for Bush, 100% of Florida"s electoral votes went to Bush. In a popular election without the EC there would be far less of this. The same situation with a popular election would have given Bush 48.85% of Florida"s votes and Gore 48.84%. This is much more fair and the way it should be.

Vote Pro!

Debate Round No. 2


My opponent's case rests on two main points:
1. The Electoral College is outdated
2. The Electoral College is inacurrate

In the first point, my opponent argues that the Electoral College was created because the average voter would not understand politics. This is not accurate at all - in the first Presidential election, 1790, only "white, male adult property-owners" could vote. It wasn't until 1850 that almost all adult male citizens, even those that owned property, could vote.[1] In other words, it wasn't until 1852 - the 17th presidential election[2] -that the uneducated could not vote for the first. Further, the fact of the matter is voting wasn't even important to begin with. George Washington won the first election in 1788 with only 11,000 popular votes - and that was with no opposition! Four states out of the ten that voted had no popular vote, and another one (Massachusetts) was split between popular and state legislature vote.[3] As I noted in my last argument, it wasn't until 1832 - the 12th Presidential election - that every state except South Carolina (which refused to adopt popular vote until after the Civil War) adopted some form of popular vote.[4]

As to the second point, my opponent argues the Electoral College is an inacurrate measure of the nation's votes. He cites the 2000 election, the most notorious, as an example of that. The problem is, 2000 is the only election outside of three 19th-century elections where the Electoral College has failed to follow the popular vote. I also believe my opponent's argument that giving all a state's votes to one candidate is unfair to those that voted to the other, is not very accurate. You could say the same thing about any election - that, for example, those that voted for Congressman B had no impact on the election because Congressman A won, and thus gained the entire office. Despite this, however, I think the Electoral College actually proves its worth here. Rather than requiring a national issue on voting reform,there is nothing stopping statewide initiatives to adopting a proportional representation system. Two states, Nebraska and Maine, split their votes based on congressionial districs as well as statewide vote, and several other states are or have considered it. The fact of the matter is, the Electoral College proves it is much more flexible than any other system here.



I will first defend my arguments, then attack my opponent's.

Con starts by saying that voters actually were educated when the EC was created. This is untrue because they being "white, male, adult property-owners" does not mean that they know what a candidate is running for. The fact of the matter is that it was that information traveled slowly, and even then not everyone wanted to hear it. Con then goes on to say that voting wasn"t even important back then, but that has no impact in this debate. The number of states that had a popular vote in 1788 has no effect on whether or not we should have an EC now.

Con"s next refutation says that my argument of people votes not counting applies to any election. This is not true. In the congress elections that Con references, congressmen win their seats by the number of popular votes they win, so even if your candidate doesn"t win, your vote still counted. In the presidential election, on the other hand, the president wins by getting enough electoral votes. This means that if your state votes for a different candidate than you do, then your vote does not effect who wins. Con also says that I only have one good example of when the popular vote was better than the EC, but Con has no example of when the EC was better than the popular vote.

The main idea of my argument here is that the EC is disproportionate to the popular vote. Because we live in a democracy, there is no reason why the election of our president should not follow the voice of the people. Unfortunately, the EC can vary from that voice. So unless Con can show why we shouldn"t follow the voice of the people in our presidential election, then I should win this debate.

Now, onto my opponent"s arguments.

Con"s first argument talks about how the EC was the founders vision for this country. This is not a good enough reason to keep the EC. The founders also permitted things like slavery and keeping women from voting, but those were clearly wrong. The fact that is has been used in the past is a faulty reason and should be disregarded.

Next, Con talks about the 2000 election, which actually furthers my case. In this election, the EC went against the voice of the people, causing a large controversy. Like I said before, unless Con can show why it is OK to go against the voice of the people, this debate goes to me.

After that Con makes a point about how the EC "supports and prevents third party runs". This seems like a contradiction to me so could you explain that a little more next round? Anyway, I do agree that third parties are good and do bring up important issues, but Con gives no explanation of why the EC helps third parties. Unless Con can show how the EC is better than the public vote here, then this point falls.

In the next point, Con has the same problem. He points out an important issue, like the death of a candidate, but gives no reason why the EC is better than popular vote. Until he proves that EC us better here, this point falls as well.

Con"s last point talks about how difficult it would be to switch over to a popular election. This is a very weak point though because it does not show that the EC is better. It would not be very hard to convert to a popular election because the popular vote is already counted, we just need to choose the president on that instead of on EC votes. Also, if we opposed everything that would be difficult to get through congress, we would never get anywhere and we would still have slaves, no women"s suffrage, and very few laws.

I am winning this debate because I have show how a popular vote would be better through a situation like the 2000 election, but Con has no arguments as to why the EC is better.
Debate Round No. 3


I will respond to my opponent's arguments first, then defend my own, then go into closing statements.

My opponent argues that voters were not educated when the electoral college was created. One thing he neglects is that that there were very few property owners back in the day, and most of them were rich. Out of a population of 3 million people (2.4 million free men and 600,000 slaves), only 38,818 people voted, or about 1.8% of the population.[1] By definition, the rich had access to land - a prerequisite to vote - in a addition to superior education.

My opponent is now saying that issue is not important, but it actually is quite so - it is the first reason he gave, and the reasoning behind it is inaccurate. My opponent said that:

"Back when the Electoral College was created, it was difficult for the average person to learn about politics. Candidates could not possibly travel around the country speaking to everyone and there were very few other ways to learn about a candidate. Because of this, most people were uneducated about politics and could not be relied upon to give an educated vote. The Electoral College was created so that the people voting for president would be educated."

In other words, he argues it is outdated because people were uneducated and could not give an educated vote for President. I have proven that:

A) Voters were not uneducated
B) Popular vote was not nationally accepted until the 12th Presidential election, the 1832 election.

This demolishes his argument, which, as I explained above, was the first he gave. Before moving on, I would like to issue a minor correction - Washington won 38,818 votes in 1788, not 11,000.

As to the second, my opponent argues that votes not counting only applies to the Presidential election. I am not sure how this makes sense - he argues that it is unfair that Florida's votes were not allocated proportionally. I noted that Congressional elections are not done proportionally, and he says that is not the same. He argues that:

"In the congress elections that Con references, congressmen win their seats by the number of popular votes they win, so even if your candidate doesn"t win, your vote still counted. In the presidential election, on the other hand, the president wins by getting enough electoral votes. This means that if your state votes for a different candidate than you do, then your vote does not effect who wins."

This does not make sense. If your candidate loses, your vote de facto did not affect who wins. This is not specific to the Presidential elections, but to all elections that do not allocate seats proportionately to votes. My opponent says I have no example of where the EC was better than the popular vote; the 1876 election is a solid example of how the Electoral College can choose the right candidate. In 1876, the Democratic plan to win the election, called the 'Mississippi Plan', basically boiled down to suppressing black voters and white Republicans from voting in the South. Paramilitary units like the Red Shirts and White League intimidated voters, threatened violence, and disrupted Republican meetings. The strategy worked and the Democrats won the South and the popular vote comfortably, but they lost the election due to the fraud allegations.[2]

As to the third point, my opponent argues that EC is disproportionate to the popular vote and must be abolished. Well, the fact of the matter is most elections in the US are not proportionate to popular vote - take, for example, the 2012 House elections, where Republicans only got 47.7% of the popular vote as compared to 49.0% for the Democrats,[3] but won 53.7% of the seats as opposed to only 46.3% for the Democrats.[4] Why should the House not follow the will of the people?

As to my first argument, my opponent uses a straw man - he says that I said the EC was the founder's vision for this country, and that because the Constitution allowed slavery and kept women from voting we should ignore them. That was not my argument at all - my argument was and is that the United States is fundamentally a nation of states, not a nation divided into provinces, and that the EC uniquely represents this fact by allowing the states to decide how to allocate their electors. I mention what the founders envision, but only in the context of why the EC exists. I assume my opponent cedes both of those points since he never mentions them.

Second, my opponent says my argument about the 2000 election favors his case because the 2000 election violated the will of the people. As I mentioned above, many other elections violate the will of the people, but my argument rests solely on the fact that the 2000 election punished Gore for lacking support in a gigantic portion of the country, punished Bush for not appealing to urban areas, and gave a great deal of power to the states on who would become President. The EC system rewarded Bush for focusing heavily on the state of New Hampshire, a moderate state, rather than focusing entirely on cultivating his conservative base (as would inevitably be the case under popular vote). It also forced both candidates towards the center, which is a positive thing. My opponent also asserts that the BOP is on me; it is not. In the rules, my opponent (Pro) clearly accepts the burden of proof, because he is the one advocating a policy change.

Third, my opponent argues my point on third parties is contradictory. I understand it may be confusing, but what the EC does is it allows third parties to be relevant. In fact, a third party could technically have a shot to win if they could force the election to the House (which would happen if no candidate gets 271 electoral votes). On the other hand, the major parties can avert third party runs by adopting the platforms of successful third parties. After choosing the center-left Gore, for instance, the Democrats looked at the large number of Nader voters (mostly liberals, like Nader himself is) and nominated Kerry, a liberal. Kerry lost, but the third party forced its issue - liberalism - into the picture.

Fourth, my opponent acknowledges the death of a candidate is a major issue, but says I give no reason why it is better than popular vote. This is not correct - I note that, under the EC, the electors could choose to elect the VP candidate instead of the President, which would prevent having to hold another election. This is a major advantage over the popular vote, which adopts no such provisions.

Finally, my opponent argues it would be easy to switch to the popular vote. This is not the case. You need to get two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of states to agree. That is not easy at all. The amendment process is sufficiently complicated that only 17 amendments that are not the Bill of Rights have been passed - an estimated 0.08 amendments per year. I assume my opponent cedes that the popular vote could be added without abolishing the EC, because he never commented on it.

To sum up my argument - as a nation of states, the electoral college uniquely represents states' rights. It forces candidates to campaign across the country, forces them to moderate, allows a greater impact for third parties, allows a solid method for resolving the death of candidates, and can even be changed to reflect the popular vote entirely. The Electoral College is a solid method to decide the President, and does not need to be abolished.



Gondun forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by leojm 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: forfeited. WRONG.