The Instigator
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The Contender
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Abolish the Electoral College

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/10/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 777 times Debate No: 78553
Debate Rounds (2)
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Article II Section 1. "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows

"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

As amended: "The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States. "

The Electoral College served its purpose at the time of adoption. There was an abject distrust of the voter; communications and technology were not sophisticated.

It is antiquated, elitist, disproportionally unfair, unnecessary, and dangerous (eg 2000).

The president should be elected by cumulative popular vote.


Opening Arguments
Although at a quick glance, one might assume that the electoral college system as utilized in the United States is the very antithesis of democracy and a blatantly oligarchic system, this is not actually the case. The electoral college system is necessary to maintain equality of votes, although it may seem to achieve an opposite result. I'll point out a few of the reasons why the electoral college system is necessary in the United States today in my opening argument.

I. Transregional Appeal
The primary argument for the electoral college system is that in order for a candidate to win an election, they must have pan American support, not just from a particular region. Truthfully, this was not the case when the electoral college system was first enacted in the early 19th century, however it is true now. If the vote was based upon population, presidential candidates would not be required to campaign in states such as Wyoming or Rhode Island since their voting impact would have a minimal effect on the election. However with the electoral college, a candidate is taking a much bigger risk in not campaigning in less populated states since they still carry a few electoral college votes that have the potential of swaying the election.

On a side note, small states also have the tendency to be swing states (i.e Wyoming, New Hampshire, Nevada, Colorado). Therefore they get extra attention from candidates since each party has an equal chance at securing the vote there. Again, these states would not get anywhere near this amount of attention if the election was based on a popular vote [1].

II. Neutralizing the Power of Large States
Somewhat related to the first argument, the electoral college also helps prevents the larger states from gaining too much political power over their smaller and less populous peers. If the elections were based on the popular vote, states such as California would gain much more importance in an election as I already said in the last argument. CNS journalist Kevin Price describes that "This means that even one of the smallest states, like Vermont, has at least 3 Electoral votes (it has one Congressman and two Senators). Meanwhile the largest state (California) has 55 Electoral votes (two Senators, 53 House members). Vermont's population is only 621,000, while California has over 36 million. Mathematically, California is 57 times larger than Vermont. However, it is only 18 times more powerful in the Electoral College. It is designed to make sure that Vermont and all the other smaller states have political influence" [2].

III. Preventing Divisions in Political Parties
This argument can be taken in both a positive and negative light. Another pro to the electoral college system is that since it is so party oriented, it prevents the expansion of any third party movements. Now this may seem undemocratic, as it prohibits freedom of speech and expression in politics, however it can also be interpreted as a mere necessity [3]. I myself and an Independent, irked by the dominance of the Democratic and Republican parties. However, even I must acknowledge that it is detrimental to have an excess of political parties. For example, in the Weimar Republic, the Reichstag was dominated by over thirty political parties, each with vastly different views on government. It lead to lack of efficiency in the government, and the rise of extremely radical parties like the Communists and the Nazis. In the US this is far less likely to happen since the electoral college ensures that only two parties have a good chance at winning a presidential election and maintains relative stability in the government.



Debate Round No. 1


When you enter the voting booth to vote for candidate X, you don't. You vote for an elector selected by political party bosses to cast an electoral vote for candidate X. Are you, as a registered party member, aware of the selection? Are there electors for your vote as an independent voter? No.

These electors pledge to vote after the general election for the candidate who wins.

In all but two or three states, ALL the electors go to the winning candidate. If the vote is so narrowing divided as Florida was in 2000, and Ohio in 2012 it really doesn't matter. The electors aren't distributed proportionately.

If the college isn't abolished, a restructuring to reflect the vote proportionately would be a big step in the right direction. Unlike my opponent I favor multi-party systems of representation. I abhor the "winner take all" ethic of elections.

Also, the elector is only bound by her "pledge". There have been several instances of so-called "faithless" electors who vote for candidate Y when they get down to the statehouse. There's no penalty, other than never getting to be an elector again no doubt.

To address my esteemed colleagues arguments:

As to "Transregional appeal" I need not remind my friend and that presidential candidates did not actively "campaign" in the early days of the Republic - it was thought "unseemly". It was, and still is.

As a former resident of Wyoming, I know that if presidential candidates made two visits it was remarkable. The minor states that he cites as "swing states" are definitely not. Swing states (e.g. Florida, Ohio) require a good number of electoral votes to be considered swing. Additionally, they have a tendency to "swing" either way (if you'll pardon the expression). Ohio and Florida are not therefore "written-off" as solid red or blue domains. From personal experience, Wyoming's three (solidly red) electoral votes never swung an election.

Neutralizing Large States

Again, sadly, this isn't true. California, New York, Ohio and Florida aren't neutralized. Their residents, however, are discriminated against. A vote in California doesn't carry the electoral weight of , say, Texas. The populations are 36,756,666, and 24,326,974 respectively. They have 55 and 34 respectively. Comparatively, 668,303 residents are represented by an electoral vote in California, while it takes 715,499residents to "earn" an electoral vote in Texas. Consider a mid-sized state like Nebraska. An elector represents 356,686 residents. It gets totally unrepresentative when one considers Wyoming with an elector representing 177,556 residents.

Interesting point: The District of Columbia has no Senate representation, and only a "delegate" sits in the House of Representatives with no voting right. It has three (3) electoral votes, one per every 197,277 residents. Territories don't vote. I didn't know that.

I believe I addressed "Preventing Divisions of Political Parties". My worthy friend and I agree to disagree - but agreeably.


I originally was a supporter of Maine's electoral college system, however now I don't think that it would be beneficial for the rest of the country to adopt a similar method. The reason behind this is that the outcome of the election would almost always be the same unless there was some drastic change in the country's ideology. If we look at our favorite example of Wyoming, we see that they voted roughly 68% for the Republican candidate in every election since 2000. If every other state follows this, pattern (which they do, mind you) there will constantly be the same results in elections. This is why swing states are so vital to the electoral college system. If they send electors proportionally like my opponent proposes, there would never be any mediation in the presidential elections since they would always send roughly 50% blue and 50% red electors.

The issue with the faithless electors argument is that in reality this usually has no impact on the election whatsoever. In US history, there have been 157 instances of faithless electors. In 71 of those instances, the elector was forced to change their vote since the candidate he/she intended to vote for died. In the remaining 83 instances the elector either changed their choice, or actually just made a mistake. In only one case did a faithless elector change the outcome of an election and that was in 1836. Nowadays it is much more rare for an elector to swap anyway since elections are, unfortunately, based more upon parties and less upon the individual candidate [1].

I am aware that the early presidential candidates did not campaign in order to get elected, however my opponent implies that this was a superior method to the present, obviously capitalistic campaigning system today. I argue the contrary, as back in the early 19th century the presidential elections were far closer to an oligarchy than a democracy since the people did not actually vote, or at least their votes had very little impact. Nowadays campaigning is required in order to secure the people's votes. Although I admit that campaigning comes hand in hand with corruption, it is a far more democratic system to the aristocratic methods utilized in the early days of the Constitution.

My opponent says that small states such as Wyoming still do not get much attention with the electoral college system, and this is true. However if we had an election based on a popular vote it is likely that no presidential candidate would ever visit Wyoming. He also states that Wyoming have never swung in an election. This, although probably not relevant to the overall point of this debate, is not true as they have sent blue electors seven times in the past century [2].

My counterpart states that the larger states are not neutralized by the electoral college, but in fact are just merely discriminated against since an individuals vote in California has less impact than a vote from Wyoming. True, an individual vote is indeed devalued in larger states such as California. However there are problems to this accusation. One, as my opponent noted, the individual is not the one who actually votes for the president and therefore an individual vote, no matter what state it came from, is technically completely irrelevant. Second, it still does not rebut the argument that larger states need to be contained. My opponent says that the electoral college does not actually achieve this, however I contest with that view point. If we had elections based on popular vote, the country would be dominated by California, New York, Texas, and Florida. The majority of future presidents would come from these states, since a state is more likely to vote for a local than someone from the opposite side of the country. This eliminates or seriously hinders thousands of other, eligible candidates. It also, as my opening argument stated, would prevent campaigning in smaller states since there would be little to no point to spending the money on a trip to Wyoming when that money could be spent campaigning in California.


Debate Round No. 2
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Vote Placed by kingofthewatermelons 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con had the better arguements. Only con used sources