American Gov’t

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The federal elections envision an electoral or indirect approach to elections but the states are free to decide the precise formula by which its own electoral votes are counted.The Electoral College has been the subject of much debate and criticism. such criticism tends to derive from the fact that a presidential candidate can win the popular vote and still fail to win because of the nuances of the Electoral College. Such criticism is hardly abstract as George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in just this way. Not only can the Electoral College operate to deny the popular vote, but it can also render certain states increasingly important and other states increasingly trivial or irrelevant as far as presidential elections are concerned. Large swing states with winner-take-all electoral laws, for instance, receive more attention and more personal time than other states. Under this electoral system, Florida becomes more important than California, Ohio more important than New York, and Pennsylvania more important than Texas.What ought to be a national election, reflecting a broad spectrum of national interests and concerns, instead becomes a carefully calculated race to secure electoral votes at the expense of popular votes and large swing states at the expense of smaller states. It might be cynical to suggest that such a system thwarts notions of popular democracy, and yet it seems difficult to reconcile the consequences of an Electoral College with notions of one-person-one vote. To be sure, one person does not really equate to one vote under this system and the particular value to be assigned to a vote depends on the state’s underlying approach to the allocation of electoral votes as well as to whether the voter resides in a large swing state, a large non-swing state, or a smaller state. The ideals of popular democracy, and