Popular Vote it is!

Several democratic nations around the world have adopted some type of electoral system. The purpose of an electoral system is to calculate the number of votes at the end of an election in order to choose positions in a particular government.

There are several electoral systems used around the globe; in the United States for example, the electoral system used is called the Electoral College. The Electoral College is made up of “electors” (members of different parties), the number of electors a state has is determined by a census. (The 2012, 2016 and 2020 elections are and will be based on the 2010 census*)


The number of people a state has determines the number of electors representing a certain state in congress (House and Senate). So, in other words we can say that, the more people a state has, the more electors or electoral votes it represents in the Electoral College. (In order to win an election a candidate must accumulate a majority of 270 electoral votes*)

The 2016 presidential election made many who are against the results challenge the old but current electoral system. For many the Electoral College is decrepit and inefficient for modern times. Even though not many countries follow the popular vote, some follow a similar type of popular vote called the Two-round system, as the title explains it, the two round system is made up of 2 rounds of popular votes, during the first round the candidates with the lowest percentage are eliminated and all remaining candidates stand for the second round and the candidate with the highest percentage wins.

According to the The Huffington Post a popular voting system or/and a two-round system would make many people who live in states with a low and high concentrated population feel like their voice matters!

Accessibility Issues in the Voting System

There is a major problem in the United States, many people are interested in voting; however, not many get the chance to do so. Accessibility problems involve all technical, mechanical and bureaucratic type of problems that hinder eligible voters to fulfill their desire to vote.

A popular reason why many eligible voters cannot vote on Election Day is lack of proper identification. During the last election for example, there were many voters who possessed an expired ID, however, they also carried their SSN and other type of up to date identification but were not allowed to vote because the law requires a valid, up to date identification card only.  What happens then to those who don’t have the means to obtain a valid ID? According to the Washington Post “many just give up” the elderly who can’t physically go to the MVA toblogweek2 get an ID, or the poor who have no money to get to the MVA or pay a fee.  Settles a 65 year retired engineer describes the system as a “bureaucratic nightmare”.

According to NPR, there are more than 35 million eligible voters who are disabled and decide not to vote because of lack of accessible parking spaces and properly installed ramps for people with disabilities. Ian Watlington, of the national Disability Rights Network (NDRN) explains “Right when you turn to get into the main door, you have a pretty substantial crack in the concrete. One that most peopllllle would have to bump over” Another problem that involves people with disabilities is the absence of additional disable parking spaces during Election Day.

Another reason is the lack of translators for Latino immigrants, during the last elections, particularly in Arizona and Florida where there is a big percentage of Latino voters, lacked obligatory bilingual translators; as a result many Latino voters were not able to cast their vote.

Such as one might expect there are always technical problems with polling machines; however, during the last election there were way too many problems with polling machines, creating extreme long lines which caused people to decide between voting and getting to work late, causing a big impact on voter turnout.

Measures of political activity

How can we measure political activity in a nation?

There are three ways we can measure political activity:

  1. Discussing politics with other people
  2. Trying to convince others to vote for a party or candidate during an election campaign
  3. Working for a party or candidate during elections


  • Nearly 90% of the American public reports discussing politics at least some of the time. Compares to an average of only 68% across the 11 European nations.
  • 30% of the American citizens report having worked during a campaign at some time. More than double the average for seven European nations in which this question was asked.
  • In reporting trying to convince others during elections campaigns, the Americans trail only the west Germans with 40% affirming such activity, in comparison to an average of 27% in seven other countries.

Therefore, we can conclude that the average American public attitudes are directly associated with political participation.

Powell, G. American Voter Turnout in Comparative Perspective. The American Political Science Review, 80(1), 17-43. doi:10.2307/1957082

Democratic public attitudes and political participation

This short paragraph will explain certain facts that shape the American electoral system by providing data obtained using a combination of aggregate and comparative survey data.

According to Powell, despite the relatively favorable citizen attitudes, voter turnout in American national elections is far below the average of 80% of the eligible electorate that votes in other industrialized nations. Surprisingly another fact indicates that the United States overpasses any other democratic nation in political awareness within its citizens.

How is a nation who is politically aware not interested in voting? The institutional context by which individuals act such as legal rules, social and political structures and configuration of partisanship all shape and have a big effect on an individual’s choices, making it hard for an individual to change his/her beliefs.

The United states is advantaged about 5% by political attitudes, but disadvantaged 13% by the party system and institutional factors.l and up to 14% by the registration laws. 

Powell, G. American Voter Turnout in Comparative Perspective. The American Political Science Review, 80(1), 17-43. doi:10.2307/1957082


Brint it LogoMy name is Melissa Di Negro and I’m a senior at the University of Maryland College Park; I’m a Communication major with a minor in International Development and Conflict Management. My group and I decided to work on the electoral system and its effect on voters, I think the topic is very interesting especially right now that there has been so much controversy surrounding the latest elections; because the topic will combine different aspects of the electoral system, there is potential for topic expansion as well as to discover hidden flaws in the electoral system.