By Gesmira Molla (News Editor).
Last Monday, Donald Trump’s election was finalized, and the citizens of our nation had almost no say in the decision. Due to a process known as the Electoral College, a majority of 304 individuals chose Trump for president, despite a strong social media presence encouraging electors to change their votes towards Hillary.
The electoral college, made of 538 “elected” individuals, has the final vote for who becomes president. Initially intended to create a compromise between the vote of Congress and the popular vote, the process now angers many people as it has resulted in five presidential elections that do not coincide with the popular vote.
The number of electoral college members for a state is dependent on the population of that state. There are not many restrictions on being an elector, except individuals holding office of Trust or Profit in the United States.
The exact process for choosing electors is unknown to many Americans, despite its great impact on our political climate. Each presidential candidate comes with a slate of potential electors, chosen by the political party in that state. On the day of the presidential election, citizens are technically voting for the electors that come with their presidential choice, whether or not these names show up on the ballot. These electors are thus expected to vote for that candidate, however, this is not always the case.
It has become political practice for electors to vote according to the popular decision of the state. They do, however, reserve the right to vote their conscience and become “faithless” electors who vote against the choice of their state. Some may be replaced if they refuse to vote for their state’s elect, yet in an overwhelming amount of states there is no penalty.
This year, there were seven total rogue electors, five who abandoned Clinton and two who refused to vote for Trump. Prior to 2016, there were just three faithless electors in history.
Many, but not all, political scientists express contempt toward the electoral college. The electoral college makes the popular vote somewhat irrelevant, as it puts the nation’s future in the hands of a small amount of not necessarily informed or loyal individuals.