The Electoral College: Rationale and Process Essay example

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The Founding Fathers wanted to distinguish the newly formed United States from a pure democracy. The Framers defined democracy as government decisions made directly by the people. They decided to use a republic form of government because it promised wiser government. This type of government would allow decisions to be made by representatives elected by people.

The one issue styled under this republican representation was the process on how to choose a president. This process has been the source of continuing controversy for over two hundred years. There have been more attempts to change the twelfth amendment than any other provision in the Constitution. Ironically, in the debates preceding the ratification of the Constitution, the
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The Constitution (Article 2, Section 1) provides that each state shall appoint as many presidential electors as the state has members of Congress. Three is the smallest number of electors a state may have, since every state has two senators and at least one member of the House of Representatives.

According to the Constitution and federal law, each state may appoint presidential electors by whatever means they wish. After the electors have been chosen, they meet in their state capitals to cast their ballots. The only constitutional restriction is that an elector may vote for only one candidate who is a resident of the same state of the elector. To be elected president or vice-president, a candidate must receive a majority of all the electoral votes cast. If no candidate receives a majority, the House of Representatives chooses the president from among the three candidates receiving the highest number of electoral votes. If the House of Representatives must make a choice, each state receives one vote and a majority of the states must agree on a single candidate. When no candidate for vice-president receives a majority, the Senate then chooses the vice-president from the other two highest candidates. Each senator has one vote and a vice-president candidate receiving the majority of the votes in the Senate wins.

In practice, the presidential electors are chosen through the

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