Nick Dranias

No matter who wins, protect the Electoral College

Posted on November 04, 2008 | Author: Nick Dranias
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Every four years, the Electoral College is attacked as an affront to genuine democracy. What typically starts as a low level complaint before the election eventually becomes a full-scale grievance. These attacks miss the point of the design of our Constitutional Republic.

The Electoral College was never meant to facilitate the popular election of the President. Indeed, our system of representative government, federalism, separation of powers and individual rights was never meant to guarantee direct democracy. These structures were meant to preserve liberty. The elements of democracy contained in our system of government are a means to that end, rather than the end itself.

Freedom requires the will of the majority to be moderated through checks and balances. On the national level, freedom also requires respect for the equal sovereignty of each state. From this perspective, the Electoral College remains a crucial component of the Constitution's design. It moderates the influence of the most populous states by giving the least populous states a bigger voice. In so doing, it reinforces the principles of federalism and moderated majority rule.

There is no more reason to eliminate the Electoral College than there is to dissolve the Senate, which gives all states equal representation regardless of population, or to deny the smallest states their constitutional guarantee of at least one representative in the House. Simply put, an attack on the Electoral College is an attack on the checks and balances carefully built into the American Republic.

Nick Dranias is the constitutional policy director at the Goldwater Institute.

Learn more:

Federal Elections Commission: The Electoral College

Democrat and Chronicle: Proponents push state to urge end of Electoral College

The Green Papers: Laws governing how electors must vote

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