Regarding Citizen Columnist Jerry Luber's Sept. 5 piece, "Election system was created for a different time - let's change it":
What the writer fails to understand is that the Electoral College, a stroke of genius on the part of our Founding Fathers, is the glue that holds our two-party system together.
Since the switch was made in 1824 to have these electors chosen by popular vote, 13 of the 47 contests have failed to produce popular-vote majorities, and in seven instances the tallies were less than two percentage points apart. In several of these contests, the popular-vote differences nearly represented statistical dead heats. It was the spread in the Electoral College that saved the day.
Elimination of the Electoral College would leave two possibilities. We often would have our presidents elected with simple pluralities, with all the attending political woes. Or, worse, we would have runoffs to achieve a majority, extending an already overlong election process.
The Electoral College provides us with decisive vote counts. If winners needed only a simple plurality, serious third-, fourth- and fifth-party candidates would be encouraged to enter the field, and we could end up with parliamentary situations of coalitions and stagnation similar to those in Europe. The need to obtain a majority in the college produces two big umbrella parties, where discordant elements have to hang together if they want to win the White House or majorities in the House and Senate.
Imagine the election of 1860, which had four serious candidates, if there had been no Electoral College. Abraham Lincoln received less than 40 percent of the popular vote, but won a whopping 180 in the college, hardly a squeak-through victory. His nearest competitor got only 72 electoral votes, providing Lincoln with a psychological advantage he otherwise would not have had. The other two contestants received only 12 and 39 electoral votes.
The elimination of the college would also empower big-city machines to determine close elections with fraudulent vote counts, whereas currently they only corrupt their own states. And close elections, such as the 2000 presidential contest, would require endless recounts. Proportionate voting in the college, as is currently the case in a few of our states, carries problems similar to those of a purely popular election and should be avoided as well.
The Electoral College has served us well over the years, and it would be an act of utter insanity to do away with it.