The Founding Fathers established the Electoral College (EC) to resolve an unfair advantage the more populous states enjoyed over rural (sparsely populated) states in the Union. Electing a president based on electors (rather than popular vote) allowed a slightly greater voice for the small states. The framers considered this an appropriate trade-off to protect minority states from the majority.
Article II, Section I of the Constitution instructed each state legislature to determine how their electors are appointed. If not for the EC, four states (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia and New York) could have easily overruled the smaller states on every issue.
Here’s the rub. The Massachusetts legislature has enacted a bill this week to bypass the EC, favoring instead the award of all their electoral votes to whoever wins the national popular vote. Yes, even if that candidate did not win the majority of Massachusetts votes.
Five additional states (Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey and Washington) have previously approved legislation similar to what Massachusetts adopted. For an individual to be elected president, he/she needs at least 270 electoral votes. These six states have a total of 73 electoral votes (27% of the number required). Continue reading “Keep the Electoral College”