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You Ask, We Answer: Why do we use the electoral college system?

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - It's another You Ask, We Answer. Today, one person wants to know, why do we use the Electoral College system and not the popular vote to decide who becomes president?

There are 538 electors who elect the president according to who the majority of the people in their state voted for. UW-Eau Claire political science professor Geoff Peterson said this system gives states with low populations more of a say in who becomes president.

While there is a lot of debate as to why this system was put into the Constitution in the first place, Peterson thinks it was originally to give southern states more power in who would become president when their population was not as large as the northern states.

Because the Electoral College system is in the Constitution, Peterson said it would be extremely difficult to eliminate and instead use the popular vote, as some voters and officials have proposed.

"In order to eliminate this process of choosing electors, we would have to amend the Constitution, and to amend the constitution you need 3/4 of the states to agree to it," Peterson said. "You just need a group of small states who don't want to get rid of it and you don't get rid of it."

The push to change or abolish the Electoral College is not new. Peterson said the closest anyone has got to making a change was in 1970, but a filibuster prevented the amendment from being voted on.

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Felicity Bosk

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