During the 1878 Constitutional Convention, the framers of the U.S. Constitution drew up Article II and established the Electoral College for two reasons.
First, they wanted to create a buffer between the states’ voters and the direct election of the President. They were afraid that the direct election by the voters would result in electing a ruthless tyrant like British King George III during the Revolutionary War. Second, they wanted the government’s structure to give extra power to small states to balance these powers with the large states.
During this time, Virginia, New York and Pennsylvania had a larger population with small states like New Jersey, Connecticut and South Carolina. Without the Electoral College, the large states would always be able to elect their choice for president because they had more voters and thus leaving the small states out.
During modern times, voters in states like New York, Illinois and California with larger populations would always be able to elect their choice for President. Voters in like Alaska, North Dakota and Wyoming, with very small population would never have a chance to get their choice of President elected. All, but two (Maine and Nebraska) of the 50 states have a method of the winner of the popular vote takes all the electoral votes in each state.
Presently, there are 435 representatives in the House of Representatives, 100 Senators in the Senate, and three electors from the District of Columbia (Washington D.C.). The total number of electors is 538. The majority number is 270 electoral votes to become President (538 divided by two = 269 +1) The framers also under Article V established two methods to amend the Constitution. Under the most common method used, it would take 2/3 of both houses of Congress to propose an amendment. For it to officially become part of the Constitution, ¾ or 38 states would have to approve it.
On Sept. 24, 1789, the Congress approved 12 proposed amendments. On Sept. 15, 1791, 10 of the original 12 amendments were approved. State legislatures were permitted to approve these two amendments whenever they wanted.
During 1982, a University of Texas student named Gregory Watson found that one of these two proposed amendments that did not get approved dealt with the congressional pay raises. Watson wrote his term paper stressing the fact that two amendments could still be approved by ¾ or 38 states. Later, he received a C grade from his professor for his efforts. He started writing letters to all 50 state legislatures trying to get this amendment approved.
On May 5, 1992, due to Mr. Watson’s herculean efforts, congress officially approved a concurrent resolution agreeing to make this proposed amendment the 27th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
During 2017, the University of Texas officially changed Mr. Watson’s grade from a C to an A for his efforts in getting the 27th Amendment approved.
Presently, many individuals including Hillary Clinton have constantly complained that the Electoral College method of electing the President is undemocratic. She contends this one of the many reasons she lost this 2016 Presidential Election.
If these individuals really believe that the Electoral College is so undemocratic, they should start immediately lobbying the Congress to get the 28th Amendment proposed. Afterward, they should then try to get the required 38 state legislatures to approve this new constitutional amendment in electing future presidents.
This action, if successful would cancel out Article II’s Electoral College and base future presidential elections on the popular vote instead of the electoral vote.
If Mr. Watson can do it, maybe this group of disgruntled individuals can too.
Silvestre Moreno Jr., Mercedes