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Elizabeth Warren: 'Get Rid of the Electoral College'
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=49007"><span class="small">Sophie Weiner, Splinter</span></a>   
Tuesday, 19 March 2019 12:43

Weiner writes: "In her first CNN Town Hall event since announcing her run for president, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she supports abolishing the Electoral College."

Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)
Elizabeth Warren. (photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Elizabeth Warren: 'Get Rid of the Electoral College'

By Sophie Weiner, Splinter

19 March 19


n her first CNN Town Hall event since announcing her run for president, Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she supports abolishing the Electoral College.

In response to a question about expanding voter rights, Warren said she believes “we need a constitutional amendment that protects the right to vote for every citizen and to make sure that vote gets counted.” 

“We need to put some federal muscle behind that, and we need to repeal every one of the voter suppression laws that is out there right now,” she added.

She then moved on to the Electoral College.

“My view is that every vote matters,” Warren said. “The way that we can make that happen is that we can have national voting. And that means get rid of the Electoral College.”

The audience erupted in cheers.

From the beginning, the Electoral College was about limiting democracy, according to Smithsonian Magazine. It was first put in place in 1787, during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, in order to give citizens a way to vote directly for president while putting in place electors who would be able to step in if the masses got out of hand. It also allowed the South—where 40 percent of the population was enslaved at that time—more representation.

“[Southerners] wanted slaves to count the same as anyone else, and some northerners thought slaves shouldn’t be counted at all because they were treated as property rather than as people,” Harvard Law professor Michael Klarman told the Smithsonian.

This is where the detestable three-fifths compromise, which you most likely remember learning about in American history class, came in. Slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person when the convention drew up Congressional districts. And the number of Electoral College electors, in turn, was based on the number of Congressional delegates from each state—two senators, plus the number of Representatives.

Over the last 200 years, the Electoral College has remained unpopular, facing 700 proposed Constitutional amendments to either reform it or get rid of it altogether. Warren’s proposed amendment would just be the latest in this long history.

Warren is the second 2020 Democratic candidate to advocate abolishing the Electoral College. South Bend, IN mayor Pete Buttigieg also called to end the institution back in January.

“We’ve got to repair our democracy. The Electoral College needs to go, because it’s made our society less and less democratic,” Buttigieg said on CBS This Morning.

In 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders called for a “reassessment” of the Electoral College, but has not supported abolishing it.

States have also begun pushing to circumvent the College on their own. A dozen states have joined the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which would bypass the Electoral College by awarding their electoral points to whichever candidate wins the popular vote. The total electoral points of these states is 181, not quite the 270 needed to secure the presidency.

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+4 # DongiC 2019-03-19 22:28
The internal springs of democracy are bubbling, indeed, with this wonderful idea of Elizabeth Warren. This is the time for a new birth of freedom by eliminating the antiquated and undemocratic Electoral College. It came into being as a concession to those states where slavery was an important part of their culture, where five slaves would be counted as three whites for purposes of taxation and representation. But, since the President was elected by the number of electoral votes he received and since electoral votes were determined by number of representatives each state had in Congress, the South where slavery was widespread gained a lot more power and control in the new government that was being fashioned.

Slavery is long gone. The Electoral College should follow it. Today, the vote is sacred. It is the life blood of our democracy. It should have the same value no matter where you live. Large state, small state; rural or urban or farm; north or south or east or west. And, every citizen should be guaranteed suffrage regardless of race, color, sex or previous condition of servitude. Let us proclaim our faith in democracy by defending and guaranteeing suffrage for all.

Why not replace Labor Day with another holiday, Election Day? All citizens have the day off to tend to their sacred duty of elections. And, let Congress pass legislation which would remove all barriers to voting: end gerrymanders, dirty tricks, improper machines, various

+6 # DongiC 2019-03-19 22:47
vote suppressing schemes like gerrymandering, crooked computers, insufficient numbers of voting devices, shortened hours for voting, destruction of absentee ballots and any other measure designed to limit and restrict the citizen's right to vote.

While we are at it, we might go for broke and have the federal government finance all federal elections. Let's get the money out of the election process and make voting a real democratic action. The rich for too long have had too much political power. We need to hear other voices.

What would follow then would be a new birth of freedom. I am sure that this would unleash a powerful wave of inspiration which we may need to save our precious planet. At the time of greatest need, America would have, once again, measured up and the new chant from a grateful world might well be, "God bless America!"
+2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-03-20 05:46
This is good. The EC is not working for the interests of the American people. But before just dumping it wholesale, I'd like to see a deep discussion of what our goals should be and what sort of system should replace it. I'm just worried that if we go to a straight nationwide majority vote count, a candidate could win just by taking very large majorities in NY, Calif, and Texas. There would be no need to campaign in the very small states. I'd like to see a system that pretty much forced presidential candidates to campaign in ALL states. I'm not sure how to do that.