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Senate Democrats introduce constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College


One lawmaker called the system 'a relic from a shameful period in our nation's history'

Image source: Poivre YouTube screenschot

A group of Senate Democrats say the Electoral College is an unfair system that needs to go and have introduced a constitutional amendment in order to have it abolished.

What are the details?

On Tuesday, the measure — sponsored by Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), and Brian Schatz (Hawaii) — was officially introduced in the upper chamber, as companion legislation to a proposal already offered in the House.

According to CBS News, the campaign to get rid of the Electoral College gained steam among Democrats after the party's 2000 and 2016 presidential nominees, Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, both lost White House bids despite garnering more of the popular vote than their Republican opponents.

Durbin issued a statement, saying, "Before the 2000 election, I introduced a bipartisan resolution to amend the Constitution and create a system of direct election for presidents. And I still believe today as I did then that the Electoral College is a relic from a shameful period in our nation's history, and allows some votes to carry greater weight than others," Fox News reported.

"In an election, the person who gets the most votes should win," Schatz added, according to WTVF-TV. "No one's vote should count for more based on where you live. The Electoral College is outdated and it's undemocratic. It's time to end it."

The idea of switching to a simple popular vote for presidential elections has also been endorsed by several 2020 Democratic candidates, including former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), and Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.).

Anything else?

Durbin and Schatz are correct in pointing out the Electoral College does give greater weight to votes in some regions over others — that's the point. The system was crafted to be a mechanism for protecting states' rights in America's democratic republic and providing a counterweight to areas with greater populations that would otherwise hold an advantage.

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, pointed out to CBS that the Electoral College "also sets a precedent for the Senate, which is also very unrepresentative of the population: Two senators per state."

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