With the current state of affairs in the United States and the growing wedge between Americans, what can future generations do to ensure the best candidate takes office? The answer is easy — yet so many people do not exercise their right to vote.
For a president to be elected into office, a candidate does not win with the popular vote. The perfect example of this is the most recent election. Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost 2.9 million votes while Republican Donald Trump won the electoral vote, which ultimately put him into office.
Why doesn’t the popular vote decide the president? The Electoral College was created in 1787 as a compromise for two specific reasons: to control how much power the people should have and how much power small and large states should have.
“Each state shall appoint a number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives to which the state is entitled in congress,” as stated in the Constitution.
One of the two candidates needs to reach 270 electoral votes out of the total 538 electors. Without the majority of electoral votes, the final say goes to the House of Representatives. Each state delegation has one vote.
The Electoral College is made of officials selected by the candidate’s political party. From the options chosen by the officials, the voters are able to choose which one best suits their beliefs. For each state a representative has, they get one elector and two electors for the number of senators in each state.
Today’s high school students are the next generation of voters. Right now, they are taking the time to learn about political parties and what they stand for. Although most students are trying to learn how to vote, some are uninformed about how the election process works.
“You go to the polls and pick the person you want,” said Jenna Chackan, a junior at Wyoming Area.
That is a major part of voting, but the candidate you chose may not take office since the popular vote does not decide.
Voting for your favorite presidential candidate is still important, but the people you elect to the Electoral College may be more important.
Registering to vote is an easy task but many students and young adults may not know how to register. “I don’t know how to register,” Wyoming Area sophomore Sophia Lugar said, “but I plan on asking for help and voting in the next election.”
To register to vote in not only the presidential election but for local officials, you must be registered. You can register online at Vote.USA.gov or download the form and mail it to the Pennsylvania election office.
The process for new voters may seem intimidating. Doing something for the first time usually is, but with a little research, you can find out which candidate best suits your beliefs and can represent you. Voting is a simple task which can help, not only yourself, but others in the future.
Marianne Chipeleski is a junior at Wyoming Area High School. Her column was originally published in The Citizens’ Voice as part of the Newspaper in Education program.