The Electoral College — it is so important to every American, especially to those Americans who don’t live in a largely populated urban area. In other words, to those who mainly live in “flyover” states.
Representative Democracy is the basis of our political system and the Electoral College was designed to protect individual liberty.
What is the Electoral College? First, it is not a place, not a university. It is a system created by the framers of our U.S. Constitution and has been used to elect our President since 1788. The framers debated for Fair Representation. They did not want one region of our nation to have more power — for example: small states vs. large states.
The Electoral College ensures that small states like Wyoming or Vermont have a voice. Every state and the District of Columbia have at least 3 electoral votes. The number of electors for each state is determined by the number of federal elected officials. Each state has two U.S. Senators and a certain number of Congressmen whose number is based on the population determined by the national census. The total number of electoral votes is 538; it takes 270 to win. If no candidate wins a majority, the decision then goes to the House of Representatives with a vote of state-by-state, with each state having one vote. These directives are in Article II, Section 1 of our Constitution.
How are electors chosen? Each state sets the laws and chooses the process for selecting their electors. Electors are nominated and voted on by others within a specific party. They are pledged to support a candidate, if that candidate wins the popular vote in the state. Thus Republicans, Democrats, Socialists, Independents, Greens, Libertarians, Communists, etc., may select electors if they have a candidate on the ballot.
When does the Electoral College meet? It is in the Constitution that the Electoral College meets on the first Monday after the second Wednesday of December to vote for the President and Vice President of the United States. The Vice President was given to the Electoral College in 1804 in the 12th Amendment to the Constitution. Interesting to note, the founders specifically excluded any federal office holders from serving on the Electoral College. Louisiana electors will meet in Baton Rouge on Dec. 14, 2020.
Opposition to the Electoral College process comes from those who primarily want a national popular vote to decide the election. It is good to remember that the Electoral College has one man-one vote but it is contained within the individual state. For example, if in the upcoming election Arkansas votes for Trump and California votes for Biden, then each state will cast their votes in the Electoral College: Arkansas with 6 votes; California with 55, so population does count — but Arkansas has its input.
Remember, it’s about Fair Representation — 50 states not six.
Kay Kellogg Katz is a former city councilman, state representative and Louisiana tax commissioner. She will once again be an elector in the Electoral College for Louisiana in 2020.