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North Dakota voters, experts weigh in on Electoral College



MINOT, N.D. – With the 2020 election year behind us, many are breathing a sigh of relief, however for some, the election has brought up a new debate: is the electoral college still a representational way of counting votes?

Established in Article II of the U.S. constitution, the electoral college has been around for hundreds of years, but with the election sparking so much contention among people, do people in the community think it is the right practice for the country.

Your News leader asked our Facebook viewers what they thought.

In a Gallup poll published in Sept. 2020, 61% of Americans said they wanted to change the constitution to get rid of the Electoral College and go with the popular vote. Taking a closer look at those numbers, 89% of Democrats supporting popular vote and only 23% of republicans agreed with that.

One commenter said to get rid of the practice because it is outdated. Jynette Larshus, a social science professor from Minot State University, explained that viewpoint.

“We can in fact tally things instantaneously versus taking weeks or even a month to tally votes as it was done previously,” said Larshus.

Another Facebook commenter explained they were in favor of a popular vote.

“Does it disenfranchise some people, to be quite honest? In saying yes, my vote counts but in the end, we aren’t actually voting for the president, we are voting for the electors,” said Larshus.

Former North Dakota Governor and an elector, Ed Schafer disagrees.

“One vote counts. Every single vote counts in every election whether you are electing the secretary of the state or the president of the united states. Your vote is important and goes to creating the democratic process of power and direction for our country,” said Schafer.

Schafer said the electoral college is truly based upon people’s values.

“If you don’t like the values that are being represented in the electoral process, then you have to go to work and change those values, not change the system,” said Schafer.

Regardless of what citizens believe, getting rid of the Electoral College would require a Constitutional amendment, meaning the process will likely remain in place at least for the near future.

Five presidents won the popular vote but lost in the electoral college, including Andrew Jackson, Samuel Tilden, Grover Cleveland, Al Gore, and Hilary Clinton.

In the 2020 presidential election, President-elect Joe Biden won both popular and electoral vote.