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Host of reasons to scrap Electoral College

John E. Sununu’s defense of the Electoral College (“Even better than the popular vote,” Op-ed, Nov. 5) is another attempt to defend the indefensible. For many reasons, this system should be abolished.

First, the Electoral College is a vestige of slavery, used to give slave states the same disproportionate influence on presidential elections that they had in Congress by counting (non-voting) slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purpose of allocating representatives in the House of Representatives.

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Second, the extra two votes each state receives in the Electoral College simply for being a state is a violation of the fundamental principle of one-person one-vote, giving citizens of less populous states disproportionate influence over the election. This also makes splits between the popular vote and the electoral vote, as in 2000, more likely.

Third, the Electoral College allows for vote suppression tactics that we are seeing practiced across the country, mainly by Republicans. Even if we are to have state-by-state elections, we should scrap the Electoral College in favor of a system that allocates states’ influence based on how many people in the state actually vote.

Sununu’s main point is that the Electoral College gets the candidates to campaign in the small states. This is simply untrue. How many presidential candidates have actually campaigned in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, or Alaska in recent years?

If the popular vote is good enough for large states such as California, New York, and Texas, it’s good enough for the United States as a whole.

Jack Beermann


The writer is a professor at Boston University School of Law.

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