Opinion

Electoral college needs to end

Editor:

We recently submitted a petition requesting Sen. Miller-Meeks to support Iowa to join with other states that have passed the national popular vote law, under which the president would be elected like other offices and be the person who gets the most votes throughout the entire country, upholding the principle that everybody’s vote should carry equal weight.

She responded that “if we were to abolish the electoral college and go to a majority vote, then Iowa’s vote would not count at all. The election would be decided by both coasts and less populated, rural states such as Iowa would truly become flyover country. I am elected to serve Iowa, and I want to make sure that Iowa has a voice at the table both in Des Moines and in Washington DC.”

We understand her point but have to respectfully disagree. Her position that her first loyalty is to our state expresses a limited and opportunistic orientation, which may well be appropriate when voting on the terms of a business or agricultural agreement with China, for example. However, this issue relates to the basic rights we enjoy as citizens of our entire democratically self-governing country, the United States of America. Here our appropriate identification is not limited to being Iowans but expands to our larger identification as US Citizens voting for a president to govern our country.

We have inherited a hodge-podge electoral college system which has been unevenly reformed over the years. Sometimes the electoral college vote mirrors the popular vote, but all too often it doesn’t, highlighting that there are many flaws in this system that confer greater voting power to some citizens than to others. Sen. Miller-Meeks’ statement admits that an Iowan’s vote under this antiquated system has more power than some (and by implication also less than others), than it would in the “one citizen, one vote” ideal. She feels that her duty to Iowans is to try to maintain this uneven advantage (which is also a disadvantage compared to some voters), despite the obvious fact that in the larger picture of the entire country it really is less than totally just and fair, either to ourselves or to the rest of our fellow Americans.

In this matter our senator represents us not merely as Iowans, but primarily as U.S. citizens, and the appropriate loyalty would be to what is just and fair to all. The limited opportunistic orientation that she espouses opens the door to manipulation and corruption, which sabotages our ability to trust our own processes of democratic self-government and weakens us as a country, making us more vulnerable to the “divide and conquer” strategies of players who do have America’s best interests at heart.

An orientation of justice and fairness for all, on the other hand, will build trust and confidence in the integrity of our democratic self-governing processes and support the freedom and security we all want to enjoy as American citizens.

Fred and Betty Krueger

Fairfield