Free and Equal: Rawls' Theory of Justice and Political Reform

By Joseph Grcic | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5. ABOLISH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE

“The people are uninformed, and would be misled by a few
designing men.”

—E. Gerry

In the 2000 presidential election Vice President Al Gore received 543, 895 more votes (50,999,897) than George W. Bush (50,456,002) but George Bush became President of the United States. This was not the first time this happened and may not be the last. Is this democracy?

The US Constitution specifies that the President of the US is not to be chosen directly by the people but by what has come to be called the Electoral College. The Electoral College is constituted by electors chosen by the legislatures of each state and the District of Columbia. The number of electors is equal to the number of senators and representatives the state has in Congress. There is only one constitutional restriction as to the identity of the electors, “No Senator or Representative or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States shall be appointed an elector.”212 Further qualification, if any, for being an elector are determined by state legislatures.

The constitution does not require that electors vote as the majority or plurality in their state has voted. Currently, only 16 states require that the electors vote for the winner of majority or plural-

212. US Constitution, Article II, Section 1, 2.

-85-

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