| | << >>
Recounts and the Electoral College: Will This Election Change the Electoral College System?
12/23/2016 Election Helen J
keywords: Electoral College Trump voting

The 2016 election results surprised and shocked a wide array of American voters. Since polling suggested Hilary Clinton had a high chance of winning, many groups were surprised when Donald Trump won the election and called for a recount of the votes in key swing states. Others called for a change to the system in support of discontinuing or altering the Electoral College system. The many protests and calls for reform to the voting system raise concerns that the Electoral College may change in future elections.

Recounts in 2016

Jill Stein requested a recount in three states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Although she only received a small portion of votes in the three states, she believed that the results of the election were suspicious. While recounts stated in Wisconsin and Michigan, Pennsylvania determined that the difference in votes between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton was not small enough for remaining votes to change the outcome of the state. 

A recount of sample ballots began in Nevada at the request of De La Fuente. The reason for the recount and the request was a counter-balance to Jill Stein's request in other states. If the sample ballots show a discrepancy of 1 percent, then a full recount may occur in the state.

Electoral vs. Popular Votes

A key reason for the controversy related to the Electoral College during the election relates to the popular vote and the Electoral College vote. While overseas votes are still being counted in some states, Hilary Clinton won the popular vote by more than 2 million votes. Since Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote, he won the election.

The outbreak of protests, combined with the recounts in four states, have lead to concerns about the current system. Some groups believe that the goal is de-legitimizing the election results while others believe the problem stems from using an outdated system that does not apply to modern elections. Due to the varying beliefs, some calls for changes to the system have arisen.

Will the System Change?

Despite suggestions that it may be time to change the Electoral College, previous proposals and recommendations have not resulted in major changes to the system. More than 700 proposals to change the system have been introduced to Congress in the last 200 years. The proposals sought to reform or completely abolish the Electoral College. It is unlikely that the system will change significantly or that the country will abolish the Electoral College.

The results of the election may cause some slight changes, but the primary concern relates to the concentration of population in different states. The Electoral College prevents states with large populations, like New York and California, from completely ignoring the interests and preferences of the individuals living in less populous states. The popular vote does not necessarily reflect the goals and interests of the country as a whole and proposals to change the system are unlikely to succeed.

Recounts in key states and protests against the election results have sparked a conversation about the possibility of changes to the current system. While Congress may make decisions on new proposals, it is unlikely that major reform to the Electoral College will occur in the near future.

Back to List