I am writing regarding the editorial that appeared Nov. 13 titled "Switch the System." Why do we need the Electoral College? Our Founding Fathers had wisdom that has successfully governed well beyond their generation. Citizens must keep in mind that the real reason we currently have no president-elect is not because of the political spin-doctors or because of politicians quick to call in high-powered legal counsel to file motions and ask for recount after recount.
No, the reason we have no new president is because the election was so close! Half of our electorate showed up at the polls Nov. 7. More than 100 million people, and in some states it is coming down to single digits that separate these two men! We must be patient while the winner is being determined, avoiding partisan bickering and respecting the outcome Friday.
While it looks as if Mr. Gore might have won the popular vote (although there are still hundreds of thousands of votes to be counted in some states), his election would by no means be a mandate.
The vice president won but 677 U.S. counties to the Texas Gov. George W. Bush's 2,434; that translates to 570,000 square feet compared to 2,427,000 square feet of land, respectively.
The United States is a republic with a representative democracy. We live in a nation not necessarily ruled by the majority without regard to the minority's view. Without the current system mandated by our Constitution, the candidates would have no reason to campaign in the less-populated areas, talking to those potential constituents and being forced to respond to their needs in the same way they respond to the needs of voters in centers of population.
Just imagine the mess that would occur if we did not have an Electoral College in a similar election. The potential is there for a wait of weeks upon weeks while states such as Oregon count every single vote as they trickle in. What if those results triggered an automatic recount similar to the one in Florida? Imagine a recount that involved the entire country! If anything, this tight election should give Americans an appreciation of that for which the Electoral College stands - that every American's view counts, not just those living in large cities.
Marc A. White
Political Science and History