Petition Response: Why the Electoral College is Important

The White House
Why the Electoral College is Important

By Tonya Robinson, Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy Thank you for taking the time to participate in the “We the People” petition process. We launched this online tool as a way of hearing directly from you, and are pleased to see that it has been effective in soliciting your feedback. We understand your interest in the petition to support granting citizens the ability to vote for the President directly by dissolving the Electoral College, and appreciate the opportunity to share the Administration’s views on this issue.

While supporters of the popular vote argue that the Electoral College gives a disproportionate amount of influence to smaller states, reforming this system also raises difficult questions. For example, others have argued that a national popular vote would create a similar problem, granting the largest cities and states a disproportionate amount of influence and drowning out the voices of voters in less populous states.

In any event, the President cannot address this issue alone. As you may be aware, Article II of the United States Constitution, as amended, sets out the number of “electors” that each state is entitled to have, which is equal to the total number of that state’s Senators and Representatives in Congress. Article II further allows each state’s legislature to determine the means of choosing its electors.

While the future of the Electoral Colleges is certainly a legitimate topic for public debate, the President does not have the power to change this Article of the Constitution. A constitutional amendment, which requires a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress (or a Convention under Article V of the Constitution) and ratification in three-fourths of all fifty states, would be required.

Tell us what you think about this response and We the People.

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