The real presidential election takes place six weeks after the first Tuesday in November, when 538 presidential electors in Washington, D.C., cast their ballots.
In 48 states and the District of Columbia, the candidate who wins the popular vote receives all of the Electoral College votes for that state, however, after the Supreme Court hears a case from Washington and another from Colorado in the spring, electors may have the right to vote for the candidate of their choosing, regardless of whether their choice corresponds to the outcome of their state’s popular vote.
The founding fathers created the Electoral College in the end of the 18th century to give smaller rural communities in middle America the same representation as coastal larger industrial cities, giving every state — regardless of population — at least three electoral votes.
The Electoral College system is now unequal and outdated. With a population of 577,737 people and three electoral votes, Wyoming gets one vote per 192,579 citizens, while California with a population of 39.56 million people and 55 electoral votes, gets one vote per 700,000 plus citizens.
Looking toward the November presidential election, voters should be reconsidering the weight of their individual vote after the 2016 election in which the nominee who won the popular vote lost the presidency.
Hillary Clinton won approximately 65.9 million popular votes to Donald Trump’s 63 million votes in 2016, however Trump won the Electoral College by 74 electoral votes, making him President of the United States.
In four other presidential elections — 2000, 1888, 1876 and 1824 — the elected president lost the popular vote, and the Electoral College system was the deciding factor in who won the American presidency.
The Electoral College makes voters, especially those in highly populated states with a consistent voting demographic, feel as if their votes do not count. This is a serious problem, as it disengages potential voters and sets the precedent that voters in these states do not have a say in presidential elections.
Every other American election, whether it be for senator, mayor or city council is elected through the popular vote. When electing the leader of a country, every individual’s vote should count the same as in a smaller election. Voters should not have to rely on others in their state to vote along the same party lines.
When a presidential candidate receives the most popular votes across the nation, that is a clear message that the country feels best represented by this candidate.
Five presidential elections would have ended differently if each citizen’s vote truly counted. Hopefully the 2020 election will not add to the list.