The Electoral College is lame

This arcane institution has proven itself ineffecitve and unreliable, and should be put out to pasture.

The Electoral College, the system that determines how votes are cast for president, is a relic from a time when horses pulled plows. It has proven itself just as ineffective and unreliable. Unfortunately, after the shameful debacle of 2000, real Electoral College reform has yet to be done.

Good news is on the way, however, because of a promising Nov. 2 ballot initiative in Colorado. Minnesotans should take note.

Like every other state, except for Nebraska and Maine, Colorado has a winner-take-all system. It does not matter if 49 percent of the state’s population voted for the other candidate, because all Electoral College votes would still go to one candidate. This clearly is not representative democracy. The Colorado initiative seeks to change that by apportioning electoral votes according to proportion of the popular vote.

The reasons for keeping the Electoral College are few. Small states worry about being nonfactors in presidential campaigns. Considering candidates now spend the vast majority of their time in swing states anyway, the small states need not worry because they are nonfactors.

If anything, the Colorado initiative would help to give candidates incentives to travel to states that are considered opponent strongholds, in order to target pockets of the population. There is not a sensible way to force presidential candidates to pay attention to states they feel are not advantageous in a campaign. Changing the Electoral College to a truly proportional system would at least ensure a more scattered campaign trail across the United States.

We would rather have the Electoral College abolished through a constitutional amendment, but the steps taken in Colorado are the next best thing.

The initiative still has a ways to go. Voters have to approve it and it has to withstand a court challenge, but what Colorado is doing is a step in the right direction.

The Electoral College is one of the most uninspiring institutions in the U.S. democratic process. It’s time this horse be put out to pasture.