The 2016 presidential election is behind us and many have taken to the streets in protest, some have attended special church services, some have simply reached out to family and friends to share their anguish. Meanwhile, their counterparts have enjoyed a surprise victory and are elated to learn their candidate has emerged victorious in spite of dire predictions and rebuke. The upshot is that criticism of the Electoral College by both sides has become the bold new national criticism. Surely it’s antiquated. Surely it must go. Surely we can do better.
And we can.
I must quickly give notice that the Founding Fathers were not so terribly amiss as many may think. Sure we’re a much larger expanse of nation, geography-wise, and we’re immensely more populated than the late 1800s. But the Electoral College mechanism works. So why did one presidential candidate (Hillary Clinton) win a majority of popular votes and the other candidate (Donald Trump) seem to steal the election?
The culprit is not the Electoral College itself. No, rather, our stumbling arises out of the all-or-nothing approach we take when we tally the popular votes and convert them into electoral votes suitable for the Electoral College result. That step in the process (not the Electoral College) needs to be replaced.
Equal Voice Voting offers the best of solutions without requiring a constitutional amendment (visit www.equalvoicevoting.com and download the free book analyzing presidential elections from 1980-2012). It’s a simple formula that converts a state’s popular votes into a proportional electoral vote that hews closely to the popular vote, does not disenfranchise voters (as we currently experience), gives each state its independent voice, honors the Founding Fathers’ intent, and acknowledges the grand expanse of this huge nation’s diverse cultures, peoples, values and priorities.
It’s time to initiate legislation on a state-by-state basis so that we can enjoy a vote-capturing system without suffering (or relishing) a sudden November surprise. Suspense is one of the aspects that makes the presidential elections highly intriguing but we should also experience a confidence that translates into a continued pride of country. The exercise of our Electoral College should be a source of such confidence and can be if we simply modify how we count everyone’s vote. Contact your legislators and ask that they give Equal Voice Voting their strong consideration.
West Linn, Oregon