Saturday, January 14, 2012

History Of Electoral College

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History Of Electoral College

The constitutional Convention was considering a few different processes of electing a president. The first idea to elect a president was to have Congress choose the president, but some people didn’t like this idea, because they felt that it would lead to disagreement and overall conflict in Congress with people getting their feelings hurt. Some people thought that corruption and foreign powers would step in and get in the way, and some people thought that the balance between the legislative and executive branch would be unstable, so the idea was dismissed.

The second idea brought forth was to make the State legislatures in charge of choosing the president, but it was also dismissed. People were afraid that if this were to happen the president would have the state legislatures disobey federal authority to win.

Having the president be elected by a direct popular vote was the third idea. This was dismissed for fear of people voting for the person they liked personally the most rather than any candidate that was outside of their state. “…. People would vote for a ‘favorite son’ from their own state or region.” Says William C. Kimberling. (000; p 1)

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A “Committee of Eleven” in the Constitutional Convention brought a system for presidential election forth. It was an indirect election by a college of electors. This also became the first design of the Electoral College. State legislatures were responsible for the selection of the Electors, and neither members of Congress or employees of the federal government could serve as an Elector so a balance between the legislative and executive branch could take place. Each state’s Elector would meet in different states, instead of a large meeting, so that issues such as bribery wouldn’t occur. Electors were prevented from voting for their favorite candidate by making the Elector make two votes. One had to be from an outside state. The votes would be sent to the President of the Senate and he would open and read the results of the election. Majority had to win in order for a president to be selected, one over half the total. In the occurrence of a tie the House of Representatives would choose the president from the top five and each state could only cast one vote. This design lasted for four elections

Congress took on the rules of the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution to improve the fist design. Each Elector cast one vote for a president and a separate for the vice president. The top three candidates would be chosen to pick out a president if a tie occurred.

The Congress in 1845 came up with a uniform day for the states to select their Electors. The original permitted time was 4 days before the first Wednesday, but it needed to be changed so that states that vote later aren’t influenced by the earlier votes. It was the Tuesday following the first Monday in November in years that could be divided by four. Other methods were tried but none of them worked as fair as this particular method.

The current ways of the Electoral College are the same as the last ideas the Constitutional Convention thought to improve. Each state is given a number of Electors equal to the number of its U.S. Representatives.


I did not know that the government went through so many changes to a presidential selection process. I noticed that it did no mention anything about the citizens making a difference on who becomes the president. It enforces the fact that the citizens’ votes do not count. I also thought the government didn’t care about who’s feelings would get hurt by the first idea. I thought it was a “too bad, so sad” kind of deal, where someone makes a choice and wouldn’t let emotions get in the way. I find that to be very interesting.

The second idea I could understand would cause the federal authority to break down, if they had of chose that one and the third idea were rejected for a good reason. It wouldn’t be fair if people voted for their favorite candidate. The uniformed day of voting was necessary, because the influence of early voters could change the later voters minds and end in a unfair result.

I thought the first design was a great and it seemed like a great process and the rules were fair, but it wasn’t good enough for them or else they wouldn’t have refined it. As I read a little bit more I noticed that the changes that occurred were necessary. It prevented states from cheating to elect a president, even though our president was already hand picked no matter what the votes said. Unfortunately the citizens were tricked into thinking we had control.


Grolier Incorporated 15

Grolier Encyclopedia of Knowledge volume 6


http//www.truthinmedia.org/Columns/Electoral-College.html 000; Origens and History of the Electoral College

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