This letter is in response to a July 5 letter about the Electoral College by Alan Hopefl. Mr. Hopefl asks, “Are there any other countries who elect their president, prime minister, etc., by some means other than majority vote?”
The USA, in fact, is in good company, as Canada, the UK, Germany, Italy, Australia, India and Israel all use methods other than direct democracy by majority vote for their president or prime minister.
A popular vote for the president may seem like a straightforward and simple matter, but it comes with difficulties as well. If the Florida recount of the 2000 presidential race was challenging, imagine that multiplied on a national level. Instead of recounting 9 million votes, we’d be recounting 125 million votes! By compartmentalizing our voting in a state-by-state manner, verifying recounts is easier, leading to greater reliability and confidence in the process.
On a different note, I find it interesting that concerns about the Electoral College crop up on the rare occasion when the President-elect does not win the popular vote, but not when the winner of the popular vote wins a disproportionate number of the Electoral College votes. Bill Clinton in 1992 only won 43 percent of the popular vote, but 68 percent of the Electoral College votes.
Disparity is not always bad. Sometimes a clear majority in the Electoral College is good for the country, so that unity may prevail.