Commentary: Electoral College past its sell-by date

This editorial appeared in The Miami Herald.

Feeling relief now that Election Day is finally over? Think again. The real election won't take place until Dec. 15. That's when the Electoral College meets to pick the winner - and it hasn't always been the candidate with the highest number of popular votes.

The popular vote is for a slate of representatives to the Electoral College, where the electors choose the next president. More than once, the candidate with the highest number of popular votes has come up short, thanks to the way votes are distributed by states on a winner-take-all basis. The last time was in 2000, when Al Gore lost to George W. Bush despite receiving 543,816 more popular votes.

Isn't it time to get rid of this horse-and-buggy-era political contraption?

The theory behind the Electoral College was that it would create a rough balance between states with large and small populations. Without such protection, small states feared that they would be overlooked as presidential candidates campaigned in states with the most voters. Because it was the states that created the central government, this made sense to the framers of the Constitution.

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