The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

The Electoral College

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/30/2017 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,151 times Debate No: 101552
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (12)
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In this debate, I will argue that the way the electoral college currently works is not a good way to elect the president. I would prefer to debate with someone genuinely supportive of the electoral college to better understand both points of view. Please keep the debate civilized and on topic, so don't be partisan on other topics. You (the challenger) bear the burden of proof, meaning that you have to prove that the electoral college is good.

Your response should be acceptance and then your argument. From there, I will attempt to disprove your arguments. Further rounds are further rebuttals, and round 5 is for closing arguments. You should not post on the last round so that that way we each get four rounds of argument. I don't get round one since it's dictating terms.

Please be civilized, so no swearing and going off topic. Please provide strong, logical arguments in favor of the electoral college. Have fun, and may the odds be ever in your favor!


I accept your terms, and I shall prove why the Electoral College is a good system to elect the President. First off, the United States isn't a "full democracy", but is a Democratic-Republic. It has been this way for hundreds of years, yet our country is still doing fine. I personally understand why many may not like the system, as they feel it is not a full representation of the people. And while that is true, sometimes the interest of the majority may not exactly be what's best for them. If the majority of people wanted to be euthanized, should we let them vote on it and pass it? My point is, what the majority wants isn't always exactly what's best for them.
Debate Round No. 1


Just a reminder, next round, you need to provide rebuttals to both my rebuttals and arguments. You should also probably provide more evidence in favor of the electoral college; one paragraph isn't really enough, Goodluck!

I would like to first clarify some things. You concede that the electoral college can be unfair to the voters, and that many people (two thirds, in fact) can be disenfranchised by it. "[A]s they feel it is not a full representation of the people." You just think that this isn't a bad thing. "[W]hile that is true, sometimes the interest of the majority may not exactly be what's best for them." Now on to your arguments.

Yes, the US is not a direct democracy. But we elect our congressmen using a direct popular vote. The president is a representative of the people just like those congressmen are. The country indeed is doing fine. But that does not prove that the electoral college is a good system. There are many other countries in the world that use different methods of voting that are fine too.

The majority doesn't want that is best for them? So why do they vote on their congressmen? Why does almost every, if not every developed country have voting? Why is it that poor people vote for Democrats, rich people vote for Republicans, minorities vote for Democrats, LGBT people vote for Democrats, etc.? Because they benefit from whom they vote for. The public isn't stupid; many people have college educations and most have high school or more. Many of these people read the news, and some are political experts.

By saying that the majority doesn't always know what's best, you're essentially saying no to democracy (including democratic repubics.) Dictators didn't have elections (fair ones, at least), since afterall, what does the public know?

That's all for rebuttals. Now for my arguments for the electoral college. I don't need to provide any since you bear the burden of proof, but I will provide them anyway for bonus points.

The first issue of the electoral college is that it gives small states more power. The divide is not between small and large states; for example, DC and California are relatively similar, despite one being the largest state and one being the third smallest. States are arbitrary boundaries; someone living on the Eastern edge of New York shouldn't get less power than someone 50 miles East in Vermont. Voters in smaller states getting more power is therefore unjustified.

Another issue with the electoral college is that it is inaccurate. The electoral college runs into rounding errors and is slow to update how many electoral votes each state gets. Take Wyoming and Montana. Montana has nearly twice as many people as Wyoming does (75% more), and yet it has the same amount of electoral votes that Wyoming does. On the other hand, Rhode Island has almost exactly as many people as Montana does (just 6% more), yet it has four electoral votes to Montana's three. Why? Because of rounding errors. Wyoming's population is on the low end for 3 electoral votes, while Montana's population is almost high enough to qualify for four electoral votes. However, Montana only gets three because it is just short (it deserves 3.4 electoral votes) and so rounds down to three. Conversely, Rhode Island has just enough population (it deserves 3.5 electoral votes) for its electoral vote count to round up. There is no reason states should get penalized for being just short of qualifying for an additional electoral vote and rewarded for barely having enough population to get the extra electoral vote. This leads to unfair situations where two states have nearly the same population but one gets more power than the other.

Rounding isn't the electoral college's only inaccuracy. Since electoral votes are updated every 10 years, any change in population since then is not accounted for. This can lead to seriously unfair situations. Take Michigan and North Carolina. Michigan has one more electoral vote than North Carolina, or 7% more representation. However, Michigan has 30,000 less people. The reason for this is that at the time that electoral votes were reallocated, Michigan had more people than North Carolina. However, North Carolina then increased in population, meaning that there were more voters, but the electoral college had to wait until 2020 to give North Carolina increased representation.

Another issue with the electoral college is that it bases itself off of population rather than voters. This was used by Southern Democrats. States in the South had inflated population counts due to slaves counting as 3/5 of a person, but they couldn't vote. This meant that Southern whites had more representation than they deserved. This isn't as much of an issue now, but it does not logically make sense. If you live in a state but don't vote, you increase the number of electoral votes a state has despite not voting.

The most problematic feature of the electoral college is that (in most states) it uses a winner-take-all system. This is a serious problem for a multitude of reasons. First of all, it means that winning by a thousand votes is as good as winning by two million. The two million extra votes count for nothing, so those voters' voices are ignored. However, in reality, those two million voters really do matter. Why should they be ignored?

This brings us to the second point. A winner take all system creates safe states and swing states. Safe states are states that are almost guaranteed to vote for one party. These states comprise 63-69% of the population, depending on how safe a safe state has to be. Since these states are safe, no candidate needs to campaign in them; no matter how hard you try, your efforts won't flip the results. Instead, candidates fight for swing states, which are states that could vote either way. Because you only need to win by a plurality, candidates want to win a lot of swing states by just enough to be awarded all of the electoral votes. This is quite similar to my first point; just because you live in a different place does not mean your vote should count more or less.

Because candidates only need to campaign in swing states, they only need the vote of 1/3 of the country; their win in their safe states is guaranteed. In fact, 57% of all campaign events in 2016 took place in just four states, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. 2016 isn't a fluke. In fact, 2012 was worse. 70% of all campaign events took place in four states, Florida, Iowa, Virginia, and Ohio. If you look a little deeper, you'll find that in 2016, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Arizona received at least four campaign events, and together comprise of 94% of all campaign events. In 2012, the list was the same except without Arizona and Michigan. The same story goes for money. In 2012, the only states to get at least a million in TV ad spending were the ones within 3% of the national margin. The ones within 2% all got at least 30 million. The swing states consistently get nearly all of the attention in presidential elections. The electoral college disenfranchises 2/3, or a majority, of the population. Their vote counts for nothing when deciding on a president that will affect them all.

This issue is not just limited to presidential elections. Swing states get favorable treatment even when a president is in office. "[They] receive 7% more federal grants than spectator states, twice as many presidential disaster declarations, more Superfund enforcement exemptions, and more No Child Left Behind law exemptions."

This next flaw is really just a consequence of winner takes all and small states having more power. Five times in history, or in 9% of our presidential elections, the winner of the electoral college did not win the popular vote. (I'm including 1824 because that was decided by the tiebreaking mechanism, which is part of the system we are debating.) The president serves the people, not a specific set of states.

The final flaw is the fact that the electoral college is susceptible to the spoiler effect. This means that if a third party runs, they hurt whomever they are closest to politically. This means that third party candidates can distort the result of an election by drawing votes away from the actual opinion of the vote base. This also means that many supporters of third parties will instead vote for the primary candidates, leading to a two party system that limits choices.
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Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
12 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 11 through 12 records.
Posted by Prestigiously-Poor 3 years ago
Why is that?
Posted by ApatheticVV 3 years ago
BOY-O-BOY this is gunna be fun for whoever accepts it.
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