Mat Staver is a constitutional attorney, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit litigation, education and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious liberty, the sanctity of human life and the family.
Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution addresses the issue of how the president is elected, but just what is the electoral college that we hear so much about?
Mat began by defining the word, ‘democracy’. The founders clearly rejected a democracy where the majority rules. They felt that a democracy was really ‘mob-ocracy’. Under a democracy’s national popular vote scenario, you end up with large population centers controlling the rest of the nation.
So the use of the electoral college represents another aspect of the balance of power concept that the founders wanted as part of our republic. Other examples where we see their attempt at balance is in the 3 branches of government (executive, legislative & judicial branches) along with the separate state governments and the federal government.
In the case of the electoral college, it starts with the House and the Senate. Each state, no matter how large or small, has 2 senators but concerning the House, that number of representatives is determined by population.
When you vote, you’re actually voting for the electoral college; either the Republican electors or the Democrat electors in your state. On December 19th, they will cast their ballot for president of the United States.
Looking at a pure popular vote scenario means that small and sparsely populated states would have very little input in the outcome of the election. For example, Mat compared California with Montana. Since each state gets one electoral college vote per representative and one for each senator, this makes California about 18 times larger than Montana in terms of the electoral college. However, if you did it according to population alone, you’d have 53 times the difference which means California would be much more influential than Montana under a national popular vote scenario.
A national popular vote would have a drastic affect on campaign strategy as well. Candidates would spend their time in states like Florida, Texas and California and even in those states they might only go to major cities and densely populated counties.
Who are these people known as ‘electors’ and how do they get their position? Are electors bound to their vote? Are there consequences if their vote doesn’t mimic that of the population? Will President Obama attempt to divide Israel through the United Nations before he leaves office? These and other questions are answered on this vital edition of Crosstalk.