US Electoral College System (Strengths and Weakness) Politics

This mind map will explain the advantages and disadvantages of the US Electoral College System with some examples. In the comments below I have put links to a video which explains how it works.

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  • Electoral College System
    • Weakness
      • Small-population states over-represented
        • Can this be seen as a bad thing?
      • Winner takes all system can distort the results
        • E.g. 2008 Obama won 52% of the popular vote but 68% of Electoral College votes
      • Possible for candidate to win the popular vote but lose in the Electoral College
        • E.g Al Gore in 2000
          • Bush won few popular votes but won the election
          • You can be very unpopular but still win. Is that fair?
      • Unfair to Third Parties
        • E.g. Ross Perot (1992) gained 19% of popular vote but no Electoral Collage votes
      • System is confusing, can lead to apathy
        • How is it democratic if people don't understand?
      • Electors may vote for a candidate than the one who was popular in that state
        • Can you trust them?
      • Electoral College deadlock could result in the House of Representative choosing a President from one party and the Senate choosing a Vice-President from another party
        • Divide Executive - two different parties
    • Strength
      • Promotes two-party system
        • The winner is more likely to gain over 50% of the popular vote, giving the president mandate to govern
        • In 25 of the last 37 elections (67%) the winner has gained more than 50% of the popular vote - but not in 1992, 1996 or 2000
        • Clear strong democracy (Unify)
      • Votes is not wasted - every vote counts
        • America is a diverse country - Ethnic minority are heard better
      • "if it ain't broke don't fix it"
        • The system is stable - it has created a strong government
        • Untitled
      • Stability - difficulty reforming as there maybe disagreements
      • Preserves the voice of the smaller-populated states
        • Smaller states represented
    • Possible Reform
      • Pass state laws to prohibit Electors from not following the states vote
      • Abolish Electoral College and decide on popular vote
        • BUT
          • Encourages a multi-candidate election with the winner gaining maybe only 35-40% of the votes
      • Abandon winner takes all system for a more proportional system
        • E.g. states like Maine and Nebraska
    • Conclusion
      • Why fix it?
        • Its worked so far with hardly problems
        • In the past the US has had strong government - no coalition (unlike the UK)
      • Is there such thing as a "perfect" system?
        • All voting systems have problems - so there will be some issues
      • Is there really a better system?



Does your vote count? The Electoral College explained (Video)  - The video link explains how the Electoral College works and if the vote counts. I found it very useful, the video uses animation and it explains it clearly.

Electing a US President in Plain English - This video link is also useful in explaining how it works

Old Sir

A clearly assembled analysis of the electoral college. Students looking for a simple introduction to this topic might find this useful. However, in order to address assessment objective 2, (evaluation and analysis) it is important to examine some case studies that will fuel any debate about the degrees to which the EC enhances democracy, - or damages it.

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