Steps to Fix The U.S Electoral System
H. Younger - March 1st, 2020 - The current U.S. electoral system has been in place for nearly two hundred and fifty years, and the flaws are beginning to show. Built for a time with less educated citizens and a smaller population, the electoral college as well as the laws related to voting rights are outdated and are beginning to undermine the original principles of our democracy. Several measures could be taken to immediately improve our democratic system:
Abolish the Electoral College:
The electoral college was created to prevent the “uneducated masses” from having a massive effect on elections. Instead, a select few individuals would be chosen to represent a large group of people, and thus communicate the popular vote in a smaller and more “educated” system. However, as an increasing number of Americans are attending university and education becomes more widely available, the initial issues behind this system are no longer applicable. Additionally, the electoral college no longer reflects the vote of the people. The major discrepancies in this system can be seen in results from the 2000 and 2016 Presidential elections. Because electors do not have to vote based on their states popular vote, a candidate can win a massive majority in the popular vote, but still lose because of their supporters (or lack thereof) in the electoral college. This glaring contention in the system can cause the public to be no longer represented in the voting process, and undermines the entire purpose for which it was created. The popular vote, the true voice of the people, should decide who is elected.
Make Election Day a National Holiday:
With the polls open on a Tuesday, many adults are working. Often, jobs are located too far away from a polling place, or workers are unable to leave work to vote. By making election day a holiday, or by placing it on a weekend, voter turnout rates can increase, and more citizens will be able to exercise their electoral rights.
Redraw District Lines:
Manipulating district lines in favor of a party, also known as gerrymandering, has a massive effect on elections. The term is used to describe when a party draws district lines to include a certain political alignment more than another. This leads to continued election of the same party, and often the same people. If districts were redrawn as squares or chosen randomly, elections would better represent the people. In over twenty states, including Virginia, the state legislature is responsible for the drawing of district lines. Allowing legislators to decide how their state is redistricted gives them an unfair advantage if they choose to run for re-election. This then limits the amount of new legislators elected and continually forces communities to vote for a certain party.
These are just a few of the measures needed to help improve our democracy. They may take time to implement, but they will have a positive impact on the people of this country and make the U.S. a fairer governmental system.