Letter to the Editor: Electoral College

LTE Published in the Ventura Breeze:

I read your paper when I can, but a recent column was brought to my attention by someone who thought I should respond. In response to a reader, you wrote: "Don’t you think whoever gets the most votes should win?" and followed with arguments against the Electoral College. I disagree.

First, you ask how something passed in 1787 (i.e.: the Constitution) could have any application today, citing population changes. Every provision of the Constitution, as amended and interpreted, has applied to every legal precept in the United Statesthroughout the intervening 232 years. You may have an affinity for one provision (Freedom of Speech) and dislike another (Electoral College), but you can't say that either one is invalid because of increased population. The justification for them is founded on principles, not population.

You assert that "some historians believe that the whole purpose of the College was to keep slavery alive and well." Some say that about the 3/5 clause or the importation of slaves clause, but the Electoral College *only* applies to the election of the President and Vice President, which has little or nothing to do with slavery.

You turn to the standard argument against the College, which is that it is inequitable, with the votes in some states "meaning more" or being "more important" than those in another. This is true and the Founders were well aware of it, but adopted the provision for many good reasons. You'll note that there is no mention of "democracy" anywhere in the Declaration or the Constitution, for good reason: the Founders intended to establish a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. They did not want the floating whims of a majority to jeopardize the rights of every other person, nor a perpetual floating tally of who determines, interprets or implements the Law of the Land.

Bear in mind that this is the United STATES of America, drawing its claim to sovereignty from each and all of the colonies (later states). The structure of the Electoral College is a direct result of the guarantee of equality *among the states*, with each having exactly two votes in the U.S. Senate. The Constitution might have never been adopted otherwise. The Electoral College is simply determined by adding the number of representatives and senators for each state. That is the fairest way to have equity in both the general population and all of the states in determining the presidency.

There are several amendments I would like to see repealed or added to the Constitution, but changing the Electoral College is not one of them.

William Westmiller
Camarillo, CA
[Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Ventura County [lpvc.org], but the opinions expressed are my own.]