YOUR VOICE, YOUR VOTE

More critics call for the Electoral College to be abolished, analysts say it’s unlikely

Sep 23, 2020, 7:18 AM
2016 Electoral College map of America's 50 states + DC, scaled by number of Electors per state.

(C...
2016 Electoral College map of America's 50 states + DC, scaled by number of Electors per state. (Credit: Madshurtie Creative Commons)
(Credit: Madshurtie Creative Commons)

SALT LAKE CITY – With less than six weeks to go until Election Day, some political analysts are stepping up their criticisms of the Electoral College, with several calling for it to be abolished.  There have been hundreds of attempts to do away with it, and all of them have failed. 

Even though the Electoral College became law in 1788, the way it works still seems to confuse many people.  For example, it only applies to presidential and vice-presidential race.

Utah Elections Director Justin Lee says “The thought that we’re casting a vote not for a candidate, but for a slate of electors just doesn’t match up with how we do it for every other candidate.”

Lee says the Electoral College was made to balance power between larger and smaller states in picking a president.  The American Bar Association says there have been over 700 proposals to either abolish the Electoral College, or reform it, and none of them have succeeded.  However, Lee says some states have started to modify how they use it to give the popular vote more teeth

“[In those states], whichever candidate wins the national vote, that party’s electors will get to cast electoral votes instead of the person who wins in a given state.”  Lee says.

Lee says other people have tried to allow for faithless electors in Utah, which would let them vote their conscience instead of their party. 

When the electors actually cast their ballots, it usually goes unnoticed.

“In 2012, I think there was one class of students that showed up to watch the actual electoral process.  It usually doesn’t get lot of attention,” according to Lee.

It was fairly unnoticed, right up until 2016.  When Utah’s electors met at the Utah State Capitol to cast their ballots that year, dozens of protesters gathered in the committee hearing room, hoping to convince them to change their votes away from Donald Trump.  State law doesn’t allow electors to do that, and if one decides to change their vote, their ballot is thrown out, and another elector is called in to replace the one whose ballot was tossed.

That year, Utah was considered much more of a “battleground state” than it is, now.  Former DNC Chair Donna Brazille even made a campaign stop for Hillary Clinton.  Political Science professor Tim Chambless says third-party candidate Evan McMullin made analysts think the state wouldn’t select Donald Trump.

“[McMullin] had very little money.  He had no name recognition, but, he came in and actually earned 21.5 percent of the popular vote,” he says.

Chambless says a state can be perceived as a battleground state for many reasons.  For instance, how close are the candidates in the polls?  How many people have recently moved into that state?  Chambless believes states like Arizona and Texas are being considered as battleground states, and the two main parties will spend a lot of time and money campaigning there.

Also, these states have voters that pay more attention to issues over parties.  One issue this election cycle… the recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Chambless believes that could bring out a wave of voters.

“All this is impacting our national election and it’s impacting the way we’re thinking.  It’s impacting our behavior as we try to make our ongoing experiment in democracy successful,” Chambless says. 

Today’s Top Stories

Your Voice, Your Vote

ballot count amendments utah...
Lindsay Aerts

County clerks report more poll watchers, scrutiny ahead of Utah primary

Ahead of the 2022 Utah Primary election, clerks Salt Lake and Utah counties are reporting more poll watchers are serving as watchdogs.
17 days ago
Utahns could get a tax cut....
LINDSAY AERTS AND KIRA HOFFELMEYER

Utah Senate passes a tax cut for Utahns, Gov. Cox says he will sign it

The Utah Senate just unanimously passed a bill, giving Utahns a big tax cut. People in the state could see $193 million back in taxes.
5 months ago
utah poll unfavorable to president biden...
Mary Richards

New poll shows low favorability in Utah for President Biden

The Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll shows that 45% of Utah residents have a favorable opinion of President Joe Biden, while 3% aren’t sure.
1 year ago
Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., read the final certifica...
LISA MASCARO, ERIC TUCKER, MARY CLARE JALONICK and ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press

Biden win confirmed after violent pro-Trump protestors storms US Capitol

Congress has confirmed Democrat Joe Biden as the presidential election winner, hours after violent protesters loyal to President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.
2 years ago
president trump trial...
ZEKE MILLER and JILL COLVIN Associated Press

Trump says his term is ending, transition will be orderly

President Donald Trump says there will be an “orderly transition on January 20th” now that Congress has concluded the electoral vote count certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
2 years ago
(Some of the flags and signs outside the Utah State Capitol.  Credit: Paul Nelson)...
Paul Nelson

Hundreds participate in “Stop The Steal” rally at Utah State Capitol

Hundreds of President Trump’s supporters in Utah gather on the Capitol grounds to protest what they call the stealing of the presidential election. 
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
More critics call for the Electoral College to be abolished, analysts say it’s unlikely