Public Comment provided at Senate Committee Hearing 3/6/2019
Jack Guerin with the Unitarian Universalist Delaware Advocacy Network
The electoral college is unfair to voters. Because of the winner-take-all system in each state, candidates don’t spend time in states they know they have no chance of winning, focusing only on the tight races in the “swing” states. The Interstate Popular Vote Compact is a way to ensure that every vote is counted equally and to force candidates to campaign nationwide instead of targeting a few battleground states.
The electoral college was partially a concession to slaveholders in the South, who wanted electoral power without letting slaves actually vote. Under the electoral college, slaves counted towards a state’s electoral vote total. The framers also thought that ordinary people wouldn’t have enough information to elect a president, which is no longer a concern today.
The Electoral College is a cumbersome institution and prone to potential problems. State legislatures are technically responsible for picking electors, and those electors can potentially subvert the will of the people. Back in 1960, segregationists from Louisiana nearly succeeded in replacing the Democratic electors with new electors who would oppose John F. Kennedy. “Faithless” electors have occasionally refused to vote for their party’s candidate and cast a deciding vote for whomever they please.
There is the possibility of a tie in the electoral vote, and a few elections have come close to producing this outcome. In the case of a tie, the election would be thrown into the House of Representatives, where state delegations would vote on the President with each state casting only one vote. This would be an extremely undemocratic process.
The electoral college is unfair, outdated, and irrational. It’s time to pass the National Popular Vote Compact.