College Essay

Electoral College Essay: Understanding the System and Its Impact on Democracy


The Electoral College is a unique system that plays a crucial role in determining the President of the United States. In this essay, we will delve into the intricacies of the Electoral College, its historical background, pros and cons, controversial elections influenced by it, proposed reforms, and ultimately, its impact on democracy.

Historical Background of the Electoral College

The Founding Fathers established the Electoral College as a compromise between electing the President through Congress or by popular vote. Their intention was to balance power between smaller and larger states while ensuring that qualified individuals would choose the President. Over time, amendments and changes have shaped the current structure of the Electoral College.

Pros and Cons of the Electoral College System

Advantages of the Electoral College

  1. Ensuring representation for smaller states: The Electoral College provides smaller states with a voice in presidential elections, preventing larger states from dominating.
  2. Promoting stability and preventing hasty decisions: By requiring candidates to win electoral votes from multiple states, it encourages broad-based support rather than relying solely on popular vote numbers.
  3. Encouraging a two-party system: The winner-takes-all approach incentivizes parties to build coalitions and appeal to diverse groups across different regions.

Disadvantages of the Electoral College

  1. Potential for electing a president without popular vote majority: The possibility of winning the presidency without securing a majority of popular votes raises concerns about democratic legitimacy.
  2. Disproportionate influence on swing states: Swing states receive significant attention during campaigns due to their potential to sway election outcomes, leading to an imbalance in candidate focus.
  3. Discouraging voter turnout in non-competitive states: In non-competitive “safe” states where one party consistently dominates, voters may feel their participation is less impactful, potentially reducing overall voter engagement.

Controversial Elections and Impact on Public Perception

Several past elections have highlighted the flaws and controversies associated with the Electoral College system. Two notable examples are the Bush vs Gore election in 2000 and the Trump vs Clinton election in 2016. These elections sparked public debates, raising questions about the fairness and effectiveness of the Electoral College. Such controversies can erode trust in democracy, as citizens question whether their votes truly matter.

Proposed Reforms to the Electoral College System

Efforts to reform or replace the Electoral College have gained traction over time. Two prominent proposals include:

  1. National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC): This proposal aims to ensure that the candidate who wins the national popular vote becomes president by having states commit their electoral votes to the popular vote winner.
  2. Direct popular vote method: Advocates for this reform argue for a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the Electoral College altogether, allowing for a direct popular vote to determine the presidency.

Both proposals have their benefits and drawbacks, which must be carefully evaluated before considering any significant changes to our current system.


In conclusion, understanding how the Electoral College functions is crucial for comprehending American democracy’s intricacies. While it has advantages such as ensuring representation for smaller states and promoting stability, its disadvantages, including potential discrepancies between popular vote and electoral outcomes, cannot be ignored. Controversial elections have further fueled discussions about reforming or replacing this system altogether. As we move forward, it is essential to consider various perspectives and engage in thoughtful dialogue regarding potential changes that could enhance democratic representation in presidential elections.

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