Electoral college a barrier to democracy


To the Editor:

Hard questions faced by the 1787 Convention were resolved by far-sightedness, deliberation, and Divine Providence.

One of the most difficult questions encountered by the founders was this: How can a free people prevent their chief executive from controlling the mechanism by which he is appointed? The simple answer: Hold no federal elections. The founders were very much opposed to an unbridled democracy and they felt that the matter of selecting a president is far too important to be left to the temporary whims of the masses.

According to our Constitution, control of the presidential election process was made a state power to be carried out by state-appointed electors who, rather than the people at large, were to cast their votes for president.

This ingenious system removes presidential elections from federal control, and at the same time serves as a barrier against the popular election of the president by a national majority.

The system is intended to insulate the nation against all forms of direct democracy and to keep presidential candidates honest.

A slate of better-informed electors would not be swayed by false or impossible promises, i.e., free prescriptions and free medical service; would protect the interest of the state; and would stand as a sentinel against other forms of demagoguery.

Unfortunately, these principles have been all but lost in the confusion emanating from the razor thin margin of electoral votes deciding the outcome of the Bush-Gore presidential race.

One of the most visible calls for abolition of the electoral college came from Hillary Clinton, who stated during a victory tour of upstate New York on Nov. 10 that “we are a very different country than we were 200 years ago. I believe strongly that in democracy, we should respect the will of the people and to me, that means it’s time to do away with the electoral college and move to the popular election of our president.”

Had the United States been founded as a democracy, the electoral college would not have made sense.

When implemented according to the original plan, the electoral college system makes perfect sense and is in fact vital to our survival as a free nation.

The emergence of partisan politics has corrupted the college by exacting advance pledges from the electors and by requiring that the winning party take all of the state’s electoral votes. That is not what the Constitution says or means.

Party domination of the electoral college has obscured its original purpose, and fuels the clamor to abolish it.

Lets keep control of our state’s Presidential election. Let’s not lose it to a distant Washington bureaucracy! State control will keep Chicago/Mami-type political corruption from tainting our vote.

Orville Starkey

Fresno, Ohio

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