Electoral College Protects the Voice of Smaller States

The future of the Electoral College has become an increasingly important topic as the 2020 presidential election approaches. Democratic candidates Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren have all called for the Electoral College to be abolished. What the candidates fail to tell their supporters is that abolishing the Electoral College is a dangerous prospect that would hurt the voice of smaller states in presidential elections.

In May, both Maine and Nevada rejected legislation that would have enjoined them into the National Popular Vote Compact (NPVC). The compact requires states to give their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote. The agreement will go into effect once the sum of the participating states’ electoral votes is equal to the number of electoral votes it takes to win the presidency.

In commentary published by The Daily Signal about states’ recent rejection of the NPVC, Hans von Spakovsky and Laura Williamson get to the heart of why maintaining the Electoral College is integral for preserving the voice of smaller states.:

[The Founders] feared that under a national popular vote system, presidential candidates would just campaign in the big cities and urban areas, ignoring the less populated, more rural parts of the country.

Thus, they implemented a system where the president is not elected by a direct vote but by electoral votes made on behalf of the states. Each state, no matter how small its population, has at least three electoral votes, since the number of votes the state has is based on how many senators and representatives that state has in Congress. 

States with larger populations still have an advantage because they have more representatives in the House. However, under the new compact, the votes of the smaller states would be completely dwarfed by cities and states with larger populations.

Under the Electoral College system, although smaller states do not have as much influence as places like California, New York, or Texas, their votes still matter because their (at minimum) three electoral votes guarantee at least some representation of their state’s collective will out of the 538 total votes.

The Electoral College is necessary to preserve the voices of all Americans, regardless of where they live, for generations to come.

Hans von Spakovsky and several other election law experts will be speaking at RNLA’s National Election Law Seminar on August 2-3 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Register here to learn more about the NPVC and other important election topics.