Electoral College 2012 (image: Adam Lenhardt / wikimedia)

The President of the United State is selected not by the voters of the country but by the Electoral College. This horribly designed system allows for numerous and potentially very serious problems. The best known issues with it are that it encourages candidates to work only to appeal to voters in a handful of swing states and that a candidate could win the Presidency even if he loses the popular vote. Those are only the tip of the iceberg, though. An AP story about three potential rogue electors highlight a less known but very serious flaw in the system.

At least three Republican electors say they may not support their party’s presidential ticket when the Electoral College meets in December to formally elect the new president, escalating tensions within the GOP and adding a fresh layer of intrigue to the final weeks of the White House race.

The electors — all are supporters of former GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul — told The Associated Press they are exploring options should Mitt Romney win their states.

Many electors are not bounded by the vote of their state. People are technically voting to select these mostly unknown electors assuming they will support the candidate they said they would, but there is no guarantee. Theoretically a large group of rogue electors could ignore the election results and effectively stage a legal coup. While I don’t think these three would throw the election, the important thing is they could.

The Electoral College violates the concept of one man one vote by making votes in small states more valuable. It distorts campaigning by putting the focus only on groups in a handful of states. Four times it has resulted in the winner of the popular vote losing the presidency. It theoretically enables states to change how they select their electors for partisan gain. It creates the possibility of an election being decided by a handful of rogue electors almost no one has ever heard of, and this is just a partial list of the problems with it.

No sane country would adopt an Electoral College style system today and it is well best time for us to get rid of it. There are dozens of very good reasons we should adopt a simple national popular vote like an actual functioning democracy.