Letter: Don't scapegoat the Electoral College

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Edgar Allen Beem argued for eliminating the Electoral College because “it takes the election out of the hands of the American people and gives it to the states.”

The Federalist Papers state the purpose of the Electoral College, part of the original compromise between the large and small states, “is to offer as little opportunity as possible to tumult and disorder. … The intermediate body of electors whose temporary and sole purpose is making the appointment… (with) the promise of an effective security against mischief.”

The Electoral College effectively acts as a buffer against individuals, in a state or group of states, inflating the vote margin in their states(s) to capture the presidency for their favored candidate. No matter how large the margin created, their efforts only impact their state(s). I favor retention of the Electoral College as a protective buffer.

As Beem contends, the Electoral College inflates slightly the power of the individual’s vote in states with small populations, but the impact is not so great as to warrant doing away with this protective buffer.

The other points raised in Beems’s column – restoring the Fairness Doctrine, overturning Citizens United, restricting voter suppression activities in those states where the poor, elderly, and minorities are confronted by restrictions designed to reduce their ability to vote – are valid complaints.

Stan Baron
Portland

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