The Electoral College

With the election almost upon us it is time for another discussion about the Electoral College. For a good explanation of how it works you can read about the Electoral College at the FEC website.

There were a number of different reasons why this format was chosen. Here is one such reason

“A third idea was to have the president elected by a direct popular vote. Direct election was rejected not because the Framers of the Constitution doubted public intelligence but rather because they feared that without sufficient information about candidates from outside their State, people would naturally vote for a “favorite son” from their own State or region. At worst, no president would emerge with a popular majority sufficient to govern the whole country. At best, the choice of president would always be decided by the largest, most populous States with little regard for the smaller ones.”

I have to confess that I have real questions about the collective knowledge and intelligence of the public. I am concerned about the lack of critical reasoning and logical thought. I am worried by the dearth of reading and the use of soundbites and news blurbs as sources of information.

“Finally, a so-called “Committee of Eleven” in the Constitutional Convention proposed an indirect election of the president through a College of Electors. The function of the College of Electors in choosing the president can be likened to that in the Roman Catholic Church of the College of Cardinals selecting the Pope. The original idea was for the most knowledgeable and informed individuals from each State to select the president based solely on merit and without regard to State of origin or political party.

This makes sense to me, but in order for such a thing to work you have to have faith that the people who select the POTUS are doing so based on altruistic reasons and not selfish.

In any case, the PDF I provided the link to has some good historical information and some interesting pro/con information. I think that this is a topic that is worth further study and careful thought. This is a more complex issue than I have drawn it up to be.

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