With the 2020 Presidential elections right around the corner, I thought it would be best to shine some light on what goes into electing a new President and where your vote actually goes, especially with this being the first election many of you are old enough to vote in.
First, we should go back a few steps and see what it takes to be a president. There are three requirements that have to be met in order to run for the position. A candidate must be, a natural born U.S. citizen, be at least 35 years of age, and must have been a resident in the U.S. for 14 years.
After the candidates campaign, the first step in narrowing down the candidates running to get to a final two consists of primaries and caucuses. Primary elections are when the people vote to appoint delegates to a specific party and help select the final runners in both the Republican and Democratic parties. Caucuses are when local members of a specific political party meet to register their preference of which candidate they want to attend a convention for the local people.
After that comes national conventions. The conventions help finalize which candidate is the best choice for presidential and vice presidential nominees. The process then goes towards the general elections, where people vote between the two final candidates, and the electoral college, who determines the winner.
The real question however, is the electoral college something that benefits the people's vote or hurts it?
For me, the electoral college is something that pushes me away from the aspect of voting all together. To sum it up, the electoral college is a group of representatives for each state who cast their votes for the candidate who then becomes president and vice president. There are 538 votes that come from this and whichever candidate gets more than half of the votes wins.
So does your vote matter if the candidate is chosen based off the 538 votes vs the votes of the millions of citizens throughout the country? In my opinion, no it doesn't.
The votes of the people get rounded up into what is known as the “popular vote.” The 2016 election of Donald Trump vs Hilary Clinton is a good example of why the votes of the people don't have as much weight as they should. After final votes were tallied, Trump raked in 62,979,879 votes, however, Clinton received almost 3 million more votes with a total of 65,844,954 votes. Aside from Clinton winning the popular vote, Trump became the President of the United States due to the votes from the electoral college.
That isn't the first election in which that happened either. In the 2000 election between George Bush and Al Gore, Gore received 50,999,897 votes to Bush’s 50,456,002 votes. Bush also became president based on the electoral college.
If the popular vote doesn't matter, then what is the point? Personally, the electoral college is part of the reason I don’t vote. If my vote goes towards the popular vote which can just be overlooked by the electoral college vote then in my eyes, my vote will not help towards picking a new presidential candidate.
The electoral college has been around since 1804 with multiple ratifications. I think it’s time we take a closer look at it and change it towards today's society.