This is an interesting option, especially when you consider how often the popular vote is not reflected by the Electoral College’s vote. To my recollection (and with help from Wikipedia), there has been 3 cases where this has been a problem: Hayes v Tilden, Harrison v Cleveland, and Bush v Gore. On the one hand, you can argue that the "will of the people" was not taken into account in these cases. And, I know that the 2000 election is still a cause of a lot of bitterness from some people in this country. But, one friend of mine had a point of view of the Electoral College that I think is worth exploring.
He viewed the job of the Electoral College to be a form of a smoothing function, that provided the less populated areas with more exposure to presidential candidates than they would get if the election was strictly based upon the popular vote. Consider Iowa and New Hampshire. Iowa has 7 electors, which is small potatoes compared to California (55), Texas (34), and New York (31) (Total: 120, 44% of what is needed to win). New Hampshire is in a similar boat with 4 electors. But, since they both have some of the earliest primaries, their influence on the national scale is much larger than what it would have been otherwise. All told, if the Electoral College was not in place, the candidates would not bother with the smaller population centers whatsoever. What would be the benefit? My friend did suggest, as a compromise, that most states should look at Maine’s (I think it was Maine) method for doling out its electoral votes.
Maine is one of the few states that does not give all of its electoral votes to the person who has the majority of the votes in their state. (Please correct me, if it is not Maine that does this.) Instead, the candidate gets a single vote for each congressional district that they win, and whoever gets the majority of the popular vote for the entire state, gets the remaining two electors as a reward. This still has some of the disadvantages of a strictly popular vote, in that the population centers will still be the main focus, but it spreads it out somewhat, so that the less populated regions still have some influence.
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