GraceNotes: Flawed voting methods

In late August, a federal appeals court ruled that the Electoral College can vote against the state’s majority vote for president. 

This court case follows the 2016 presidential election, in which Colorado canceled the vote of a Democratic faithless elector Michael Baca, who went against the majority vote of the state and wrote in the name of Republican John Kasich. Although Hillary Clinton already had the majority, the secretary of state replaced Baca with another elector who voted for Clinton. 

This new precedent adds on another issue to the Electoral College. By declaring that members can vote against the majority vote, this ruling diminishes the importance of the popular vote. 

People vote because they think their votes matter. While most electors will stay faithful to the popular vote, the fact that electors now have the legal right to deviate from what the people want is enough to discourage some people from voting. Voters may feel like their votes don’t matter, especially after the recent 2016 election, in which Clinton won the popular vote but President Donald Trump won the majority of the electoral college votes. 

This decision makes one of the main issues of the Electoral College even more obvious: not every voice is heard equally. The winner-takes-all aspect of elections helps elevate this sentiment. 

The Electoral College is set up so that when citizens vote for a presidential candidate, they are actually casting ballots for a certain elector, who will then vote for a president. The candidate who receives a majority of the Electoral College votes wins all of that state’s votes. 

In addition, this means that candidates will focus their campaign resources on swing states, rather than on states which are strictly Democratic or Republican. Instead of campaigning to all voters across the nation, candidates change their platform to appeal to swing state voters. With the candidates trying to take a majority of a swing state’s vote and taking advantage of the winner-takes-all concept, it almost seems as if a portion of voters from the other states is neglected. 

I am not a U.S. citizen, and one of the main reasons why I plan on applying for citizenship when I turn 18 is to be eligible to vote. The fact that my voice as a voter in a generally Democratic state won’t make a large difference is enough to make me rethink the importance in obtaining U.S. citizenship to vote. 

Over two centuries ago, the founding fathers created the Electoral College because many rural citizens lacked the resources to be informed about the nation-wide elections. However, with the help of technology, it is easier now than ever to stay up to date with the fluctuating political happenings. 

With all of the complications trailing the Electoral College, especially with the recent court case, it may be a better choice to do away the 200-year-old body of electors and create a new method that is more relevant to voters today.