Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was driving through the wide-open desert, opened up her Instagram stories and began recording. “Many votes here, as you can see.” she quipped. “Very efficient way to choose leadership of the country. I mean I can’t think of any other way, can you?” She then went on to discuss how the Electoral College, the system by which we choose the President of the United States, is a “racist scam.”
The Congresswoman made the claim that “Due to severe racial disparities in certain states, the Electoral College effectively weighs white voters over voters of color.” She did not elaborate on which states she was talking about, or any specific voting data that would back up the claim. She did, however, go on to rhetorically ask, “Could you image if we had this kind democracy-altering ‘fairness’ provision for literally any other group? If we weighed, for example, black and indigenous voters more because of unfairness?”
There have been hundreds of articles written on the Electoral College, some of which were published here on Vozwire, though few make the claim that the congresswoman makes, that the system is racist. Alexandria concludes her video—which is no longer available, due to the fact that it was an Instagram ‘story’, which means it disappeared after a certain amount of time—by saying, “Facts are facts America, the Electoral College has to go.”
I have written fairly extensively on the issue of the Electoral College, and the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact over the last year. What I can tell you from the hours of research and the articles that I have published, is that it is extremely important to know that it is not possible—without a constitutional amendment—to eliminate the Electoral College. This method of choosing the President is codified in the United States Constitution—Article II Section 1.
There is a lot more that goes into the Electoral College than your average person knows. For example, do you know how many electoral votes there are? While you ponder that question (or google it) I have another for you, how do we determine the number of representatives each state has in Congress? Now, you may say to yourself, “I have no idea, besides, what could this possibly have to do with the Electoral College?” I will tell you what these questions have to do with the Electoral College.
Very long story short, the number of electoral votes is tied to the number of representatives in Congress, both House and Senate. Each state has an equal amount of Senators, two (2). In the House of Representatives, where AOC was elected, each state is assigned a number of representatives based on the population of the state, which was determined during the previous census. However, the number is frozen at 435, meaning that in order for a state to have more representatives, another state has to lose representatives, even if it grew in population.
When you hear someone say that we need to have a “one person, one vote” system, what they are really saying is that they want to enact the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which ties Electoral votes to the “national popular vote.” Remember, the Electoral College will not go away without a constitutional amendment. Therefore, if your state is blue, but the popular vote is red, your state’s Electoral Votes will go red, and vice-versa. The “NPV” must steal Electoral votes in order to work.
There is no doubt that there are problems with a lot of our systems, but going to a National Popular Vote is not a viable answer, and is likely to do more harm than good.