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Balance of Power
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Protestors demonstrate against President-elect Donald Trump on Nov. 13, 2016, in Philadelphia. Trump lost the popular vote by more than a million votes, but won the Electoral College.

You’ll hear these 4 arguments in defense of the Electoral College. Here’s why they’re wrong.

Speel is an associate professor of political science at Pennsylvania State University's Erie campus.

In July, Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeted that the Electoral College needed to be abolished.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has also called for its abolition, while other Democratic presidential candidates, including former Rep. Beto O'Rourke and Sen. Kamala Harris, have said the Electoral College should be re-evaluated.

The Constitution's framers originally created the Electoral College as a way to filter the " passions" of the people through state-appointed presidential electors with better judgment. They assigned every state a number of electoral votes exactly equal to its number of members in Congress.

But back then, electors weren't pledged to candidates — so a state might have five votes for one candidate, and four for another. By the 1820s, the system had already evolved beyond what the framers intended. Each party chose pledged electors; if a party's candidate won the most votes in the state, that party's electors would get to cast all the votes.

This winner-take-all electoral vote system continues today in 48 states. In two — Maine and Nebraska — presidential candidates win one pledged elector from each U.S. House district they win, and win two pledged electors if the presidential candidate finishes first statewide.

In my class on American elections, we often discuss the flaws of the current version of the Electoral College. Since this issue has been injected into the 2020 presidential campaign, I've seen politicians, journalists and social media users advocate for the preservation of the Electoral College. They often repeat arguments that are misleading or outright false.

Here are four of the most common arguments I've noticed – and why they're wrong.

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