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US Constitution
U.S. Electoral College

Why hasn't the electoral college been abolished?

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March 06, 2017 3:35AM

Because a constitutional amendment has not been passed. The college disadvantages smaller states at the expense of larger ones and it is unlikely that they would pass any amendment that diminished their own influence. To abolish the Electoral College would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population.

Additionally, neither of the two major political parties in the US seems willing to give up their strategies that concentrate effort on "swing states" and entrenched majorities.

The indefensible reality is that more than 99% of campaign attention (ad spending and visits) was showered on voters in just ten states in 2012- and that in today's political climate, the swing states have become increasingly fewer and fixed. Where you live determines how much, if at all, your vote matters. The current state-by-state winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes (not mentioned in the US Constitution, but later enacted by 48 states), ensures that the candidates, after the conventions, will not reach out to about 80% of the states and their voters. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.
It would require a change of the constitution to change the electoral college. In order to change the constitution 38 states are required to agree to the change. Because a change in the electoral college to a popular vote would advantage only the most populous states in a presidential election, the likelihood of the less populous states agreeing to lose influence in elections is unlikely.

Examples:

California has 55 of 538 Electoral votes. By reducing the vote to a popular vote that influence would increase to 53 of 436 potential votes.

Vermont has 3 of 538 electoral votes, their influence would decrease to less than 1 of 436 potential votes (the population of Vermont is less than the amount for 1 representative in California).

Vermont along with about 27 other states would have to agree to reduce their electoral influence in order that California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, and a few other states greatly increase their electoral influence.