Deseret News
Letter to the Editor

The proposal by Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, to change the process in presidential elections from the Electoral College to a popular vote in Utah is dangerous, to the disadvantage of Utah. The Constitutional Convention debated how the president should be selected and intentionally rejected a national popular vote in favor of the Electoral College's weighting mechanism, that is, all of a state's electoral votes — a number determined by the size of its congressional delegation — is awarded to the winner of the popular vote in each state. Time has proven the wisdom of the Electoral College, including the following reasons:

  • The Electoral College requires a candidate to have wide geographic support.
  • The Electoral College usually produces a clear winner. A national popular vote would at times result in very close elections but the Electoral College has rarely been close.
  • The Electoral College avoids the controversy of a national recount. For example, there is no agreement on who won the popular vote between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, but Kennedy won the 1960 presidential election by 84 electoral votes.
  • The Electoral College reduces the opportunity for fraud.

The Electoral College is weighted just like Congress. If the Electoral College is somehow determined to be wrong, then so is the Senate, with its equal-state representations. The Electoral College has served the nation well. In an increasingly diverse America, the Electoral College motivates presidential candidates to pay attention to the interests of the small states and not just the highly populated centers of America's coastal elites.

Kevin Jones

Salt Lake City