Readers React: The framers did not intend for the electoral college to thwart the will of the people

Anti-Trump protesters demonstrate as members of California’s electoral college cast their ballots for president in the state Capitol building in Sacramento on Dec. 19, 2016.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In defending the electoral college, some letter writers argue that the institution protects small states, thus ignoring the actual rationale that some of the framers had in mind: the protection of slave states. Thus, the framers had no idea of the perverse influence that the electoral college would eventually have on election outcomes.

Additionally, the framers wanted to obviate regional candidates being promoted by individual states, a moot concern in modern political times with the power of two political parties.

The electoral college is not only a vestige of a terrible time in our nation’s history, it also violates the principle of one person, one vote.

Greg Ryan, Woodland Hills



To the editor: One letter writer made the point that President Trump won 49 states by 1.8 million votes, but lost California by 4.2 million votes and therefore came up short in the national popular vote. He argued that without the electoral college, the largest state would have decided the 2016 election.

That’s true, but he didn’t explain why large states should have their votes discounted. One could have made exactly the same point replacing “California” with “African Americans.”

According to the Census Bureau, African Americans make up 13.4% of the U.S. population, while California residents account for a little more than 12%. Like Californians, African Americans also vote largely Democratic. So one could just as easily argue that without the electoral college, African Americans would have decided the 2016 election.


But almost everyone would find that a completely ridiculous reason to discount their votes. I say “almost” only because a small part of the support for the electoral college can be attributed to racism.

John Harduvel, Huntington Beach

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