2 Smarter Solutions to Fixing Presidential Elections in the Future

While some may wish to abolish the Electoral College due to its occasional (albeit twice in the last three first-term elections) conflict with the popular vote, I suggest that the popular vote itself – or at least the counting of it – is more the heart of the “problem.”

All but two states award all electors to whichever candidate gets the most votes, following a trend started in the 19th century.

The result in Florida was that more than 4.9 million votes for Clinton and others were effectively discarded. Trump’s margin was just over one percent, yet he was awarded all 29 electors. The “lost votes” outnumber the total votes cast in 43 other states and the District of Columbia.

This cannot be deemed fair, or in concert with the Founding Fathers’ ideals by anyone who looks at the data objectively.

Inasmuch as this system is used only for the president (the veep is just along for the ride these days), and the Electoral College merely formalizes the outcome in the states, two alternatives seem more useful and equitable.

First, and best I believe, would be direct election by popular vote without regard to state borders. Exactly the system used within the states to elect their U.S. senators.

Second choice would be to allocate electors proportionately. This form would have awarded 259 votes to Clinton, 248 to Trump, and 31 among the others, a result that would have given a voice to serious third-party candidates. Had it been in place this time, it is likely that those candidates would have garnered a much greater share and created a motivation for the major parties to consider their views and constituents.

An ancillary effect would be that candidates, no longer able to either ignore states their opponent would most likely win, or take for granted those solidly in their column, would be compelled (behooved?) to campaign everywhere, meet all of the citizens and make the case for being everyone’s president rather than merely a red or blue one.

Citizens of every state can and should work to fix this issue by seeking the repeal of the statutes that created it. It might not be possible to accomplish it before the 2020 campaign begins but it can be done before we vote again.

This can be fixed. Contact your state legislators today.