COLUMBUS - 

Many have asked me about the Electoral College. Currently, President-elect Donald Trump won the presidential election with majority of electoral votes, while Secretary Hillary Clinton lost, despite winning the popular vote. What does this mean, and why does it matter?


Contrary to Secretary Clinton’s concession speech, our form of government is not a Constitutional democracy. America is a Representative republic. The Founding Fathers did not want a pure democracy based on popular vote, because this form of government is susceptible to mob rule. In a pure democracy, the rights of an individual or minority can be sacrificed to the will of the other 51% of voters. So the problem was: how is liberty shared for all and not only the majority? To prevent mob rule and other forms of corruption, the Founding Fathers created a government with checks and balances between lawmakers, Supreme Court judges and the President.


The Electoral College is very similar to how the U.S. Congress is set up. The U.S. House has seats based on population, but to balance the larger states like California and New York from running everything, each state, no matter how small, has two senators. So, in the U.S. Senate, Vermont has the same voting power as California.


The Electoral Colleges distributes powers fairly to both citizens and individual states. Presidential candidates must appeal to all 50 states. Using the popular vote, politicians would only visit populous cities or states, such as New York, California, and Florida. Less populous states, such as New Hampshire or Iowa, would not be represented in the election process.


The Electoral Colleges makes sure that each region is represented by a presidential candidate. The East and West Coasts can’t choose who is president, while ignoring the heartland. No one region of the country can win the entire Electoral College, so candidates must appeal to all regions. So, each candidate must appeal to different regions with different interests and traditions.


The Electoral College helps prevent voter fraud and stolen votes. If we voted by the popular vote alone, it would be easier to steal votes, since it is only the final count that matters. With the Electoral College, it is harder to steal votes, since it would require predicting which states will determine the election. For example, Michigan and Wisconsin unexpectedly decided the 2016 Presidential Election. In swing states, where a small percentage of votes may greatly affect the election, are also closely surveyed for voter fraud, which is another layer of protection.


The Founders created the Electoral College to be fair to all and to protect our republic. The Electoral College protects minority rights, regional diversity and voter fraud. We should be thankful for their foresight.


Nino Vitale is the State Representative for Champaign and parts of Shelby and Logan Counties. He can be reached at rep85@ohiohouse.gov or call 614.466.1507.

 
 
 
  
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