Initiatives v Oligarchy

Our Founders' Warning: “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories.” (Thomas Jefferson)

Replace Electoral College by Popular Vote to Elect President

Replace the Electoral College by popular vote for candidates for election of the President and allow effective voting for third-party candidates.
2016 Presidential Election Ballot

The Electoral College currently consists of 538 electors corresponding to 435 representatives, 100 senators, and 3 from the District of Columbia and avoids a popular vote for election of candidates. Each State’s Electoral College (except in Maine and Nebraska) allocates all its votes in a winner-take-all method. Because every state has 2 electors corresponding to its senators, the smaller State have a larger per-capita impact in selecting the President.

The founding fathers established the Electoral College in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens. In the intervening 230 or so years, the electorate has been expanded to include almost all U.S. Citizens of age.

At the Constitutional Convention in 1787, some delegates, “including James Wilson and James Madison, preferred popular election of the executive. Madison acknowledged that while a popular vote would be ideal, it would be difficult to get consensus on the proposal given the prevalence of slavery in the South: There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to the fewest objections.” (Courtesy © Wikipedia)

The Electoral College has become an anachronism; its original purpose has disappeared. However, it still has a sentimental attachment to history, serves the party-political elite, and may help somewhat with fund-raising. On the other hand, it is indisputably anti-democratic, it causes much dissatisfaction with the electoral process, it can call into disrepute the validity of the electoral results, and Congress must like it or they would propose a repeal amendment to the States. The People should prevail over Congress.

The electoral college does not effectively acknowledge third-party Presidential Candidates, e.g., Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, Millard Fillmore, Ross Perot, Robert La Follette, George Wallace, Ralph Nader, Strom Thurmond, and Ron Paul. Many worthy third-party candidates never run for fear of splitting the vote with like-minded candidates, and so causing election of the candidate they most opposed. This is a benefit to the two parties, but a disservice to the People who may prefer a third-party candidate as a better alternative. Thus, an electoral college solution should also include a method to accommodate third party candidates, e.g., instant runoff or rank choice voting, that still guarantees the finally-selected candidate will have a majority of all the votes cast.

Thus, replacing the Electoral College with Popular Vote for President and Vice President will require one or two Direct Constitutional Initiatives and will probably take 3 to 5 years.