The Instigator
Pro (for)
21 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
7 Points

This house would abolish the Electoral College

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Post Voting Period
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after 4 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/21/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 877 times Debate No: 93978
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (28)
Votes (4)




Note: If you wish to accept this debate, please apply in the comment section or PM me.

Full Resolution:
This house would amend the United States Constitution to abolish the Electoral College.

Round 1 - Acceptance only
Round 2 - Opening arguments only
Round 3 - Rebuttals
Round 4 - Rebuttals/closing statements

Electoral College: "The Electoral College is the name given to the process by which the American President is elected. Rather than a nationwide tally of votes being made, votes are counted state by state. States are allotted a certain number of ‘electors’ according to the size of their population. The candidate who wins the majority of votes in a particular state wins all the electors for that state with the candidate who has won over the most electors becoming President." (1)

1. The burden of proof is shared
2. Images are permitted but videos are not
3. The character limit is 10,000
4. All arguments must be made in the debate. Any arguments that are mentioned in the comments should be ignored. If there are technical difficulties, sources may be posted in the comments or on a blank debate.
5. No Kritiks.
6. No semantics
7. No trolling, serious debater only!
8. All sources should be available for free of charge online. If you use a journal source that is behind a pay wall, it should be available to access at or be available for free elsewhere.

Voting shall last 1 month and is open to any voter with an ELO score of 2,000 or more.

Upon accepting this debate, con agrees to the definitions, rules, and structure that is provided. Violations of any of these rules shall result in the loss of conduct per minimum.





I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank death23 for accepting my challenge. We have agreed to debate this subject in a PM.

C1: Undermines American Democracy

The Electoral College (EC hereafter), undermines the popular vote in the U.S. Presidential elections. Four times through history, the EC went against the public vote (1). Furthermore, the percentage that is won in the EC vote is often far greater than that of the popular vote. For example, in 2012, Presient Obama was won re-election. Although he won 51% of the popular vote, he received over 60% of the EC vote (2).

This also creates an interesting problem. It only takes only 11 states to win the EC, and thus the Presidency (3), even if that candidate loses signifigantly in the other states. As a result, it is mathematically possible to win the Presidency with a mere 22% of the popular vote (4).

The EC also violates the one-man, one-vote principle. In certain states, the EC makes your vote worth far more than had you voted in another state. An individual vote in Wyoming counts nearly 4 times more in the EC than in Texas, because Wyoming has 3 electoral college votes in a population of 532,668 citizens and Texas 32 lectoral votes for a population of almost 25 million. As FairVote notes "By dividing the population by electoral votes, we can see that Wyoming has one "elector" for every 177,556 people and Texas has one "elector" for about every 715,499. The difference between these two states of 537,943 is the largest in the EC." (5)

C3: Swing states

Among the major disadvantages of the EC is the fact that the election is usually decided by a handful of swing states. Consequently, candidates often focus solely on those 6 of 7 states, while ignoring the rest of the country. Should the EC be abolished, it would force candidates to work to gain votes in all 50 states.

C4: The EC lowers voter-turnout

Because all states have a winner-takes-all system, it discourages people from voting. If you are a conservative living in a solid liberal state (or vice-versa), why would you bother to go out and vote knowing that your vote won't count in the overall EC vote. Taylor B notes (6):

"I think it would be more equitable to force more nationally-focused campaigns. Imagine Barack Obama speaking to crowds in Dallas or Mitt Romney campaigning in New York City. At the very least, it might engage more people in the national debate. If we ever hope to breach the 60% voter turnout threshold last seen in the 1960s (the last two elections have produced around 57%), this is one way to do so. The lawsuits that emerged in the fallout of the 2000 election will be less likely to reappear. When one state decides an election, it behooves all sides to fight for those electoral votes. If the popular vote decided the winner, I doubt we’d see such fallout again."

Richard J. Cebula and Dennis R. Murphy concludes in his research paper published in Public Choice (7) "Abolition of the present Electoral College system may not only lead to more voting, but, in particular, to more voting for alternative parties, and hence to more voting for alternative national policies, than presently takes place."

Over to con.


7. Note that the full source can be accessed by going to and Copy+Pasting the URL, though the conclusion is available on the website.;


1. Abolition would be costly

Abolishing the EC requires a constitutional amendment. Amending the American constitution is difficult. [1] Such an undertaking requires the consent of two thirds of both houses of Congress or a convention upon the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the states. After that, such an amendment isn’t effective until it’s ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the states or by conventions in three fourths thereof. [2]

The EC is a politically contentious issue. The last time Congress seriously debated abolishing the EC, the proposed amendment was filibustered in the senate. [3] An amendment to abolish the EC would not pass easily through Congress nor state legislatures. Much debate and political wrangling would occur, and while our lawmakers would be focused on abolition, other matters would be left unattended. Legislative time is not free. It is a valuable resource which requires a compelling justification to allocate.

2. The EC maintains federalism

The United States is not a direct democracy. The United States is a federal constitutional republic. There are good reasons for this. Our nation is large and culturally diverse. Local control through state governments and power sharing through equal voting in the senate helps keep the smaller states safe from an overbearing centralized government. Abolishing the EC goes against of our federal system and would be detrimental to the interests of the smaller states.

3. There is risk associated with abolition

Whether we like it or not, the EC is the method of election with which we are familiar and has worked in our country for hundreds of years. Abolishing the EC would significantly change our political system. We can foresee some of the consequences of abolition, but there may be adverse impacts which only present themselves upon the use of a new method of election. This is a risk which is difficult to measure and, without a compelling justification, we should stick to what we know has worked before.

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Debate Round No. 2


Re: Cost

In my opinion, this is by far con's best argument. Although amending the Constitution is indeed a timely procedure, I would argue that anything that will substantially improve U.S. democracy and give the people a greater say in the government is worth the time and cost.

In 2013, a Gallup poll reported that over 60% of Americans favor abolishing the EC (1).

What would it take to get Congress to pass an amendment to abolish the EC? Perhaps a loss in the Presidential election if their candidate got more votes, but lost in the EC. The last time this happened was in 2000 and, as I cited in the first round, this has happened a total of 4 times. Another possible way this could happen is if we see a 269-269 tie. In almost every election, there was a very real possibility of a 269-269 tie. In the current 2016 election, there are at least three ways in which the EC could end up as a tie (2).

Because of the way the EC is set up, the Democrats have a signifigant advantage in the EC (3). If the Republicans suffer a loss in the EC, as the Democrats did in 2000, we could very easily see a bipartisan call to repeal the EC.

Re: Federalism

Con argues that the EC maintains Federalism. The problem with this argument is a fundamental misunderstanding of Federalism. The EC does not maintain or enhance the power or soverinty of states. Federalism is based on representation in Congress, not on the EC. Federalism can be maintained with or without the EC.

Con also argues that abolishing the EC would be detrimental to the interest of small states. Ironically, bigger states already have a slight advantage in the EC as opposed to small states because candidates focus on the states that give the biggest payoff. Consequently, they ignore states such as Alaska and Wyoming that have such small popuations (4). But the bigger issue is with the one-person-one-vote principle. Although the EC may be more or less favorable to big states, a vote in smaller states is worth far more (see my arguments in round 2). Is it really fair that a vote in a small state is worth far more than one with a bigger population?

Re: Risks

In my opinion, this is con's weakest argument. Cons argument is essentially an argumentum ad antiquitatem - appeal to tradition (5). Although the EC has been intact since the Constitution was ratified, it is time to move on from an archaic system. In the original Constitution, Senators were elected by the state legislator, not by a direct election. This changed with the ratification of the XVII amendment in 1913 (6). The old system no longer worked and increased corruption and deadlocked Congress. Likewise, the EC is outdated and should be changed.

Thank you con for a good debate. I look forward to your reply!




General rebuttal: There is a better way to attain Pro’s goals than abolishing the EC

Pro has an eye toward the popular vote and sees the EC as an impediment. Pro “would amend the United States Constitution to abolish the Electoral College” (resolution) and replace it with a direct election. Supposing for the moment that I shared Pro’s vision of having the popular vote determine the outcome of presidential elections, abolishing the EC isn’t how I would go about attaining that goal because there is a better way.

Article 2 of the constitution provides that “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors […]”. [4] “The State legislatures also decide how to allocate the electoral votes within their States. While it is common practice today for States to award all of their electoral votes to one candidate on a winner-take-all basis, they are not required to do so. In Nebraska and Maine, the electoral votes are not awarded entirely on a winner-take-all basis. In those States, the winner of the statewide popular vote is automatically awarded two electoral votes. The remaining electoral votes are earned by winning the popular vote in each of the States’ congressional districts. It is therefore possible for more than one candidate to win votes in the Electoral College in Nebraska and Maine.” [5; pg 6]

So, theoretically, a state legislature could instruct all of its electors to cast their votes in favor of the presidential candidate who won the national popular vote. If a sufficient number of state legislatures decided to do that then the outcome of presidential elections would be determined by the popular vote. (Call this “my way” for simplicity’s sake; It’s not really my idea) This would effectively give Pro everything he wants without abolishing the EC and the concomitant burden of amending the constitution.

My way is a lot easier than abolishing the EC. My way merely requires a sufficient number of state legislatures to pass bills instructing their electors to cast their votes in favor of the presidential candidate who won the national popular vote. The number of state legislatures required is sufficient when the combined total of their allotted electors amounts to a simple majority within the EC; Currently 270 electors (“270 to win”). As I explained in the prior round, Pro’s way requires “abolishing the EC” which “requires a constitutional amendment” and, beyond that, “such an undertaking requires the consent of two thirds of both houses of Congress or a convention upon the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the states. After that, such an amendment isn’t effective until it’s ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the states or by conventions in three fourths thereof.” That’s substantially more difficult. Clearly, my way is easier.

If that doesn’t convince you that my way’s better then what should is the fact that my way is already being implemented by legislatures across this country. The measure is known as the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), [6] and it “has been enacted by 11 jurisdictions possessing 165 electoral votes - 61% of the 270 electoral votes needed to activate it.” [7] My way is already 61% done. Pro would have us to start all over again and abolish the EC using the burdensome amendment process. No.

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Debate Round No. 3


I am rather disappointed that my opponent has dropped my arguments and instead opted to kritik the resolution (rule 3 under rules).

The resolution states "This house would amend the United States Constitution to abolish the Electoral College." The only way that one can entirely abolish the EC is through Constitutional amendment. The NVPIC does not abolish the EC.

Nevertheless, let's look at the NPVIC that con has proposed. Among the issues with this is the fact that it will only trigger once a majority (270) of the electoral college signs on to the agreement. The second issue that comes up is whether or not the NVPIC is even constitutional. It could violate the Interstate Clause in Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 which reads:

"No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay." [1]

In arguing against the NPVIC, Hans A. von Spakovsky from the Heritage Foundation writes [2]:

"Supporters of the NPV claim that because the Constitution gives state legislatures the power to determine how electors are chosen, the NPV is constitutional and requires no approval by Congress. Such claims, however, are specious. The NPV is unconstitutional because it would give a group of states with a majority of electoral votes “the power to overturn the explicit decision of the Framers against direct election. Since that power does not conform to the constitutional means of changing the original decisions of the framers, NPV could not be a legitimate innovation.”


"The very purpose of this clause was to prevent a handful of states from combining to overturn an essential part of the constitutional design. The plain text makes it clear that all such state compacts must be approved by Congress."

Con cites the Presidential Election Clause in Article 2, but the NVICP can also potentially violate that clause as well. Norman Williams writes (3):

"Although the text of the Clause seems to give states unlimited power to select the manner in which each state’s presidential electors are chosen, a close reading of U.S. history suggests the need and propriety of limiting the scope of state authority under the Clause. Not only did the framers of the Constitution expressly reject the idea of a direct, popular election for President, but also not one state either in the wake of ratification or at any time thereafter has ever sought to appoint its presidential electors on the basis of votes cast outside the state, as the National Popular Vote Compact requires."

There are far more problems with the NPVC than constitutional issues. For one, the NPVIC would change the way we vote and change Presidential elections far more drastically than by abolition of the EC. Tara Ross from the National Review writes (4):

With NPV in place, California still would have appointed 55 Democratic electors for Obama in 2012, because he won the popular vote nationwide. But in 2004 the pact would have required California to appoint 55 Republican electors for George W. Bush, even though John Kerry won 54 percent of the California vote, because Bush won the nationwide popular vote.

Does anyone really think that California would tamely submit and appoint 55 Republican electors in such a situation? Are we really to believe that it would give its electors to Sarah Palin or Ted Cruz? Doubtful. Litigation would surely follow to determine whether California’s legislature could appoint Democratic electors after all. (The Constitution says: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors . . .”) The chaos that would follow is just one of the many unanticipated ramifications of NPV’s plan.


Con's attempt at krikiting the resolution leads to more trouble for con. As Williams concluded: "The only sole constitutional way in abolishing the EC is for an amendment to the constitution, not an interstate compact by a handful of states." Furthermore, the NPVIC would be far more chaotic than an amendment. It seems that an amendment to the constitution would be far more effective and far less disruptive than an interstate compact.

I hereby urge a vote for pro!

2. Although the author here supports the EC, he argues quite convincingly about the unconstitutionality of the proposal. Retrieved 2 August 2016:;


Meh. The notion that the argument could be a kritik didn’t occur to me when I argued it, and I don’t see that it is one. Although Pro’s assertion that my argument was a kritik wasn’t supported by Pro within the debate, upon inquiry Pro did say in the comments that “[the argument] is a kritik as it attempts to challenge the assumption of the resolution (i.e. abolishing via constitutional amendment as opposed to NPVIC rather than the ultimate goal which is an abolition of the electoral college.” After reading things like - - and listening to this guy - - I still don’t see that my argument was a kritik. Though, there doesn’t appear to be any definitive test for determining whether or not an argument is a kritik.

In any case, perhaps if the argument was framed a bit differently it would be less likely to be viewed as a kritik. So, I will do that now. The resolution is “This house would amend the United States Constitution to abolish the Electoral College.” This is an all-or-nothing resolution; It leaves no room for reasonable alternatives to abolition such as the NPVIC which would address some or all of the concerns of people such as Pro while maintaining the federal nature of the presidential election and without having to go through the burdensome amendment process.

This argument was not put forth in opening arguments because Pro desired to use the popular vote, and citing the NPVIC as an alternative would create the appearance of rebuttal. I sought to avoid that because round 2 was for opening arguments only. Whether the argument is framed as “reasonable alternatives” or “Hey, we should do it this way” shouldn’t matter that much; It’s essentially the same argument – Acknowledging that the current state of affairs is somewhat problematic but seeking to avoid the burden of the amendment process while preserving the value of the EC.

Pro’s response to the argument is to bring up the issue of the constitutionality of the NPVIC, the issue of trusting the legislatures to honor the NPVIC, and to assert that “the NPVIC would be far more chaotic than an amendment. It seems that an amendment to the constitution would be far more effective and far less disruptive than an interstate compact.”

My response to these arguments is this:

1. The constitutionality of legislative acts is not an issue unique to the NPVIC; Bills are always subject to judicial review. The NPVIC may or may not be constitutional, but this issue has not been ruled upon by the courts. There is disagreement among the experts as to whether or not the NPVIC is constitutional - - The NPVIC may or may not require congressional consent under the compact clause. However, even if it does, then what’s required is a majority vote in congress. This is still substantially less burdensome than the amendment process, which requires a two thirds majority in congress and ratification in three fourths of the states. As to the issue of violating the electors clause, that argument is weak on its face. The fact that electors being appointed on the basis of votes casts outside a state has never been done before doesn’t matter from a constitutional standpoint.

2. History indicates that trust isn’t a real issue here. Red and blue legislatives have consistently honored the popular vote of their respective states in the past, assigning all of their electoral votes to the winner in their state, even if the winner wasn’t of the same political party as the party in control of the state legislature.

3. Pro’s allegation of the NPVIC being ineffectual and chaotic doesn’t make sense to me. It strikes me as entirely unsupported.

Debate Round No. 4
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by missmozart 1 month ago
Oh, that was pretty close :/ Glad I finished the RFD on time!!
Posted by dsjpk5 1 month ago
That's not a kritik; it's a counterplan.
Posted by whiteflame 1 month ago
>Reported vote: missmozart// Mod action: NOT Removed<

7 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.

[*Reason for non-removal*] The voter clearly assesses specific points made by both debaters throughout the debate and determines an outcome based on their general success or lack thereof.
Posted by missmozart 1 month ago
Sorry for the slight delay, I didn't know there was a rule about time.
Posted by missmozart 1 month ago
--RFD-- part 1

Before I begin, I just want to say that I'm not favouring one debater over the other. I'm voting completely based on my honest opinion and have tried my best to cast a fair RFD.

Round 2

Pro's main points:
-EC undermines democracy
This was possibly your strongest point in this round. I don't have anything to say really because I thought it was extremely convincing.
-Swing states
(Where is contention 2?) This was good, the only thing I would say really is that you should expand more slightly and perhaps give some sources? (Especially since people who aren't from the US like me may not be too familiar with the system and facts.)
-Lowers voter turnouts
Well done.

Con's main points:
This point was very good in general. However, I was still slightly unconvinced at how much the cost would actually have an impact. Perhaps you could've given an estimated figure or something to enhance your point?
-EC remains federalism
Interesting opinion, I would have loved if you could expand on it more though. I felt as if some points and statements were left undeveloped and as a result weak. For example- "Abolishing the EC goes against of our federal system and would be detrimental to the interests of the smaller states". I was left wondering, 'in what way would it be THAT detrimental?'
"we should stick to what we know has worked before."
The problem is, you failed to explain how the EC is *beneficial* how it has "worked". I think overall, you focused too much on why it would be bad to abolish it rather than the actual pros and advantages of the EC.
Posted by missmozart 1 month ago
--RFD-- part 2

Round 3

Your rebuttals were good, some parts were not the best but I think it was definitely enough to refute your opponent's points.

Pro's points I think we're quite difficult to rebut but I actually think you did a good job here. Your counter plan was excellent, however, it might've been better if you mentioned it in the previous round instead of this one. Also, you failed to acknowledge some of Pro's points (eg. lower voters turnouts) which was really a pity.

Round 4

Excellent use of quotations, well done. In general, I thought your points were really good and convincing and hence why you have gotten my vote.

Overall, I thought your points lacked the detail it needed in order to be explained fully. Very good points but they were way too short.

In conclusion, Pro gets my vote because his arguments were much more convincing. Well done both of you.
Posted by missmozart 1 month ago
Okay mum.
Posted by fire_wings 1 month ago
Mlle, it's 10 for you.
Posted by Death23 1 month ago
Eh I reported his vote. It should have an RFD if it's awarding points.
Posted by fire_wings 1 month ago
You're supposed to do it after an hour at the most.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by missmozart 1 month ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by warren42 1 month ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision:
Vote Placed by Hayd 1 month ago
Who won the debate:-Vote Checkmark
Reasons for voting decision: D!ck move kritik, but thats what happens in debate
Vote Placed by Amedexyius 2 months ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: RFD link here: