Tyler Too

Let the People Elect the President.

By Gus Tyler

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In a country that has long been dedicated to the ideal of a nation “of the people, by the people and for the people,” our Constitution is so written that the presidential candidate who gets the most votes from the people is not necessarily elected as president. In the election of 2000, Al Gore got a half-million more votes for president than George W. Bush, but Bush was elected because he got more votes in the Electoral College.

The Electoral College, as it was first envisioned, was entirely different from what it is today. Present-day electors are just a rubber stamp pledged to vote for a given candidate of a given party. Originally, the Constitution decreed:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The electors were to meet in their respective states. They were to cast two votes for president — at least one for someone who was not a resident of their state. The results were to be transmitted to the president of the U.S. Senate. The person getting the most votes would be elected as president provided he gets a majority of all the votes cast.

The Constitution then spells out the proper procedure in cases where the leading candidate did not get a majority of the electors’ votes.

The process revolved around electors who were generally distinguished citizens not pledged in advance to any candidate. They were free souls and not just meaningless names on a ballot — as it is today. Indeed, our present method is a stark contradiction of both the letter and spirit of the original intent.


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