An appeals court ruling has left no other choice. If presidential elections are to have any meaning, a constitutional amendment to eliminate the Electoral College must be passed.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver has ruled that Colorado, and by extension any other state, cannot control how an individual elector in the college votes for the U.S. president.
Democrat elector Michael Baca should have voted for the winner of Colorado’s general election, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 Electoral College meeting. Instead, he voted for John Kasich and was immediately replaced through an order from the secretary of state with an elector who did vote for Clinton.
The court agreed that the state can select individual electors according to their party. The Constitution, however, did not allow the state to take any action against an elector who didn’t vote as expected, the court ruled.
In a representative democracy, voters do not directly determine laws. They elect people who then make the laws according to their own individual calculations. This 18th-century definition of democracy is a guiding principle of the Constitution. But this is the 21st century. Democratically choosing a president who reflects the will of the majority demands that the Constitution be updated.
The Electoral College is left over from a patriarchal mythology that the common man cannot be trusted with important philosophical and political matters. It’s left over from when women weren’t considered smart enough to have ideas and blacks had no rights whatsoever.
It is no longer an aberration when the Electoral College count invalidates the national vote total. That has happened twice in the past 16 years. The court of appeals has now ruled that members of the Electoral College have the right to invalidate even their own state’s voters.
The National Popular Vote Plan will no longer provide a way to fix this system. That plan would have required electors to vote for whomever won the majority of the national vote. The appeals court ruling, however, makes such a requirement unconstitutional.
The only way to guarantee that a president is chosen by the people and not a small number of insiders is to eliminate the Electoral College completely.
Amending the Constitution should be exceptional, but not unthinkable. Without the Electoral College, presidential candidates will have to pay attention to the whole country. Finally, every vote will count.