Instigator / Pro

Resolved: The United States ought to replace the Electoral College with a direct national popular vote


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 8 votes and with 40 points ahead, the winner is...

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Three days
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The 2020 presidential election is well underway and this is a perennial issue.


Electoral College - a body of electors established by the United States Constitution, constituted every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president of the United States.

Popular Vote - an election in which people vote directly for the candidate that they want


1. No forfeits
2. Citations must be provided in the text of the debate
3. No new arguments in the final speeches
4. Observe good sportsmanship and maintain a civil and decorous atmosphere
5. No trolling
6. No "kritiks" of the topic (challenging assumptions in the resolution)
7. For all resolutional terms, individuals should use commonplace understandings that fit within the logical context of the resolution, the reality of the US political landscape, and this debate
8. The BOP is evenly shared
9. Pro must post their arguments in R1 and waive in R4
10. Rebuttals of new points raised in an adversary's immediately preceding speech may be permissible at the judges' discretion even in the final round (debaters may debate their appropriateness)
11. Violation of any of these rules, or of any of the R1 set-up, merits a loss


1. Opening
2. Rebuttal
3. Defense
4. Closing

Round 1
I want to thank my opponent for accepting this debate. This is an important topic that comes up every election year. I affirm the resolution that the electoral college should be replaced with a direct national vote. 


Major policy debates such as this should be evaluated on the framework of consequentialism, the framework where we judge the an actions of a proposed rule by evaluating the impacts they have on the people.

Value Premise: Democracy

“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” - Declaration of Independence

“The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.” - UN Declaration of Human Rights

In this debate, I would like to uphold the value of democracy. Democracy is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.” The criteria for which I weigh this value is the universal suffrage of the citizens. Each citizen should be given an equal say in the Presidential elections. This is commonly called one person one vote. 

The Plan

All American citizens who are 18 years of age or older should be able to vote in the election. This would enable citizens of Puerto Rico and other US territories to have a say in the Presidential election. If there is no clear majority, then there will be an instant runoff election between the top two vote getters. 

Contention 1: The Electoral College Undermines Democracy

5 times throughout history, the EC went against the direct popular vote; the most recent being in 2016 where Donald Trump won despite losing the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes [1]. Furthermore, the percentage that is won in the EC vote is often far greater than the actual popular vote. For example, in 2012 President Obama was re-elected. Although he won 51% of the popular vote, he received 60% of the EC vote [2]. 

This creates an interesting paradox. You could theoretically win the Presidency with only 23% of the popular vote. [3] 

The EC further violates the one-man-one-vote principle by making certain states worth more than other states. An individual vote in Wyoming counts nearly 4 times more in the EC than in Texas because Wyoming has 3 electoral college votes in a population of 532,668 citizens and Texas 32 electoral votes for a population of almost 25 million. As FairVote notes "By dividing the population by electoral votes, we can see that Wyoming has one "elector" for every 177,556 people and Texas has one "elector" for about every 715,499. The difference between these two states of 537,943 is the largest in the EC." [4]

Contention 2: The EC lowers voter turnout

If you are a Republican in a deep blue state, your vote does not count. States like CA and NY will almost certainly vote Democrat so voting Republican would make absolutely no difference. Similarly, if you are a Democrat in ruby red North Dakota, your vote also would not make any difference at all. Replacing the EC with a direct national vote will help to increase that turnout. Taylor Brodarick writes [5]:

"Imagine Barack Obama speaking to crowds in Dallas or Mitt Romney campaigning in New York City. At the very least, it might engage more people in the national debate. If we ever hope to breach the 60% voter turnout threshold last seen in the 1960s (the last two elections have produced around 57%), this is one way to do so. The lawsuits that emerged in the fallout of the 2000 election will be less likely to reappear. When one state decides an election, it behooves all sides to fight for those electoral votes. If the popular vote decided the winner, I doubt we’d see such fallout again."

In the 2016 election, swing states had a significantly higher voter turnout than solid blue or solid red states. [6] 

In order for a democracy to function properly, eligible citizens need to get out and vote. By suppressing voter turnout, the EC harms the overall function of our democracy. 

Contention 3: Swing States vs. Safe States

As noted above, the vast majority of states are either solid blue or solid red. This gives little incentive for Presidential candidates to visit those areas and hear those concerns. In 2016, for example, two-thirds of campaign events were held in 6 battleground states (Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, and Michigan), and 91% of events were held in those states + Arizona. [7] This means that only 9% of events were held in the other 38 states. By abolishing the EC, Presidential candidates would be forced to visit and acknowledge the issues that the rest of the 38 states are facing. 

This also creates another interesting problem. If you’re up for reelection, you would want to make sure your policies don’t piss off the voters of these states, as losing only one or two of these could make or break your reelection. Greg Rushfeld notes [8]:

“U.S. policy toward Cuba, for example, has been shaped in no small part by the anti-Castro views of the large Cuban American community in the swing state of Florida. U.S. trade policy has been influenced by generally free trade–skeptical union votes in rustbelt swing states like Ohio.


The Electoral College system simply encourages the presidential candidates to pay additional attention to certain interest groups whose strategic location gives them greater electoral significance than [sic] they would otherwise enjoy.” 


The electoral college undermines the value and the criteria of democracy in many key ways. Therefore the EC ought to be abolished and replaced with a direct national vote. 

Over to con. 


Round 2
Please extend all arugments 
I should not have accepted this many debates at once. When you tryhard in debates, things change. This topic is very very complex with multiple moralities at play and I have forfeited which breaks rule 1 and can't break structure to open my arguments.

I am understanding my limits now, this will be useful to me in the future.
Round 3
Thank you. Vote pro 
Round 4
The end