Joshua Magnone – Anchor contributor
Every four years, the electoral college elects the president and vice president of the United States. The electoral college consists of 538 electors and a candidate needs an absolute majority of 270 votes to win the election. Each state has the same number of electors as they do senators and representatives; Rhode Island has two senators and two representatives, so we have four electors. States with larger populations have more representatives so they have more electors; such as California with 55. When you vote on election day, you’re not directly voting for the candidate you want to win, instead the electors vote for you.
At the end of the day, everyone’s votes are tallied and a candidate will have won the state’s popular vote. Normally the electors of the state will reflect the popular vote; here in Rhode Island, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, so all four electors of the state voted for Hillary Clinton. I say “normally” the electors of the state reflect the popular vote because, believe it or not, in some states electors can totally disregard voters choice and choose their own candidate, even someone who isn’t on the ballot.
Generally, the electoral college will elect the candidate who has won the nationwide popular vote; except that’s not always the way it happens. The 2016 presidential election is one example of when the candidate who had won the popular vote, Hillary Clinton, did not get elected president by the electoral college. Donald Trump had approximately 63 million votes and Hillary Clinton had approximately 65 million– that’s a difference of two million more people who voted for Clinton over Trump. With all due respect to President Trump, he should be sitting on a gold-plated toilet somewhere in Trump Tower right now, not sitting in the oval office.
There is something inherently wrong with our country’s electoral process when a majority of people vote for a candidate and the candidate with less votes assumes office. Is the United States a true democracy? Do we really value our democratic ideals? If we do, then I believe we must abolish the electoral college. It makes no sense why we would have an indirect election when we have the technology to account for everyone’s ballot and the education to make a relatively informed decision.