The Straits Times
Published on Nov 08, 2012

US Electoral College ensures inclusive democracy


MR CHO Yan Fatt argued that there cannot be true democracy with the US Electoral College system ("No true democracy with US Electoral College system"; Forum Online, Tuesday).

While is true that the winning candidate in the presidential election may get fewer popular votes, the Electoral College system is respected for its historical roots, and many factors considered then remain relevant today.

The United States is a federal union, with each state having the autonomy to run its own affairs, given the diversity of its society.

The Electoral College system gives greater weight to the smaller states - one of the checks and balances that the US Constitution values, so no big state can dominate the general election.

In the case of a popular vote system, regions which are sparsely populated would not merit the attention of presidential candidates.

However, under the Electoral College system, a candidate would need to get a spread of votes from across the country by developing plurality of support, thus ensuring that the smaller states in the union have a say in the election as well.

The US founding fathers understood the dangers of direct democracy and struggled to create a system that not only reflected the will of the people, but also respected the minority.

Thus, the Electoral College system encourages moderation, compromise, coherence and inclusiveness of the United States as a nation.

Jonathan Lim