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Electoral College designed to protect smaller states, rural areas

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4 Washington state electors to be fined $1,000 for vote

Electors fill out their ballots during a meeting of Washington state's Electoral College, Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, in Olympia, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Those wanting to end the Electoral College might want to be careful what they wish for.

If we were to use only the popular vote to determine a presidential election winner, 10 states by themselves could determine the winner: California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan. By themselves, those 10 could have amassed a majority (64 million) of the 122 million total votes cast in the 2016 election. Voters in the other 40 states (including Missouri) would not have mattered. Similarly, voters in the top 100 metro areas could have elected a president. Voters in metro areas with less than 500,000 people would not have mattered.

Those estimates are based on 2016 state and metro area population estimates, 2016 total registered voters (200 million) and 2016 voter turnout (55 percent).

The designers of our U.S. Constitution included the Electoral College specifically to protect citizens and voters in states such as Missouri, and in Missouri cities such as Springfield, Jefferson City and Columbia. That protection also extends to rural counties in all states.

The same principle led Constitution designers to include a U.S. Senate, with two senators per state, regardless of population, to provide a check-and-balance to the population-driven number of representatives per state in the U.S. House.

It appears that elections and our federal government actually are designed in an excellent way to protect our freedoms from the potential tyranny of a relatively small number of states and metro areas. Would Missourians really want to have their federal government, its policies and its agencies run by popular majorities mainly from the Northeast and the West Coast? Or mainly from the larger metro areas?

If not, the Electoral College seems to be doing exactly what it was intended to do: protecting all of us.

John Tremmel  •  O'Fallon, Mo.

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