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Editorial Commentary: Ken Ciboski

Ciboski: Keep the Electoral College


We had a presidential election and, for the fifth time in our history, the winner did not win the popular vote. The most difficult questions at the 1787 Constitutional Convention were: what kind of executive will we have, how will we select or elect the executive, and what should be the term of office?

In a vote for direct election by the people taken early during the Convention, only Pennsylvania voted yes. George Mason of Virginia set the tone on direct election, and he did not hide his disdain for this proposal.

He said that to refer the choice of Chief Magistrate to a vote of the people would be like referring a trial of colors to a blind man. The extent of the country renders it impossible that the people can have the requisite knowledge to judge of the respective pretensions of the candidates. The Founding Fathers provided direct election only for the House of Representatives and NOT for the Senate, the presidency, and the Supreme Court.   

The Electoral College system guarantees that some kind of majority is needed to be elected President. If not by a majority in the Electoral College, then by the House of Representatives, where each state’s delegation has one vote and a majority is needed to win.   

The Electoral College system also tends to limit the need for recounts. It is also more representative because with a popular vote, it would take only 23 of the larger cities to elect a president.

Also, with a close direct popular vote, there could be a call to recount the votes of the entire country. How long would that take? There could be law suits and it might be months before we’d know the duly-elected president.  

In the meantime, the nation could face major national security problems… while lacking a person who is constitutionally qualified to make decisions regarding peace and war.

I favor keeping the Electoral College because it has worked well for more than 200 years.