advantages and disadvantages of the electoral college


advantages and disadvantages of the electoral college


  • it preserves the voice of a small population- although sometimes it distorts elections it is a positive that states with smaller populations are not pushed to one side by states with larger populations.
  • it tends to promote a two-horse race- state elections are contested by two major parties, the winner regularly receiving over 50% of the vote. this then secures the role of the president as he reflects the vote of the majority of the people. this maintains the mandate of the people.


  • small states are over-represented- California has 55 college votes representing 34million inhabitants. Wyoming had 3 votes representing half a million inhabitants. this means California receives one college vote for every 617,000 whereas Wyoming receives on college vote for every 165,000 people
  • Winner takes all system will distort the result- Bill Clinton won 49% of popular vote, yet because of winner takes all he ended up with over 70% of the electoral college results. between 1968 and 2008 similar events have distorted results. it can also work in reverse, you could win the most in the popular vote but still lose out on any electoral college votes, this happened to Al Gore in 2000, Trump won 1/3 of the votes in California but doesn't get a single college vote from them.
  • the system is unfair to third parties- smaller independent parties such as the green party often win millions of popular votes during state elections. however, due to the winner takes all system these small parties stand almost no chance of winning a single electoral college vote as they haven't got a strong enough concentration of votes within one district.
  • rogue electors- the electors or delegates should cast the electoral college votes in favour of the winner of the popular state vote. however, not all states have laws to ensure this happens. although unusual, this has happened 7 times since 1960- some electors have refused to support the state winner.


overall, there is some positives to the electoral college. what you have to remember is that the system works, and has been around since America's political creation. it further upholds federalism in the way that the electoral college works and this is significant to Americans. however, as we can see, there are a larger amount of negatives highlighted. this is because many natures of the electoral college are undemocratic and therefore pose questions as to whether it should be replaced to keep up with modern times.


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