“It’s not working. That’s the sentiment of many Americans when they consider the Electoral College – the mechanism used to select the United States President. Their frustration with the presidential voting system rises quickly if their preferred candidate fails to get elected. Many voters voice their disgust with a voting system that seems antiquated, out-of-step, racist, and possibly even anti-democratic,” writes Jerry Spriggs in his new book, All Votes Matter.
“…Interference in our voting for a president, limiting us from experiencing an inclusive process, comes from various sources. Initially, the actual collection of ballots posed some challenges. Adding to the problem of interference was the fact that slaves, people of color, and women could not vote. Even white men who did not own property were excluded. Through the times since when the constitution was written, voters have been refrained from voting through various nefarious voter suppression techniques. Finally, due to the Winner-Takes-All (WTA) approach we still use, almost half of those voting are disenfranchised such that their votes for a president gain no representation in the Electoral College.” It’s especially damning stuff, when it’s laid out so bare and naked and unapologetically.
Spriggs is a straight-shooter. He’s not afraid to share his opinions. There’s no dancing around the proverbial or ideological table, in part because Spriggs communicates that there is such a sense of urgency regarding the issue(s) he rais(es) in the text. “Checks and balances, a hallmark of the U.S. Constitution comes into play with the requirement for candidates to capture the consensus of the people while also capturing a commanding coalition of states. It is thought that the current Electoral College process adheres to this intent but Winner-Takes-All (WTA) breaks down the election firewall. An ultra-wide variance in voting, comparing the popular and Electoral College results, shows that the popular vote can be terribly suppressed while delivering an electoral vote victory,” he writes. “…Sensing something is wrong, many throughout our nation’s history have wanted to change the voting process for a more popular vote approach. (The) (seventh) chapter discusses how adopting this approach requires a constitutional amendment, showing what that requires.
The popular vote is viewed from the vantage point of our Constitutional Framers, who abhorred a direct democracy. The dangers for sustainability and corruption of such an approach are discussed. The chapter points out how ours is a very diverse nation and deserves a more sensitive treatment than using one process for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For example, different states have different voting rules regarding voter identification and the treatment of felons. Further, the nation can be compared to Europe but not to an individual European country due the geographic expanse of the United States and the assimilation of a plethora of cultures. The chapter also reveals why the popular vote approach fails the voting tests mentioned in the previous chapter.”
Spriggs just tells it like it is. Sad to say, but in this day and age that’s a rare, and wholly commendable thing.