May 05, 2010

ALLIANCE, Ohio?Mount Union students had the opportunity to debate what President of the College Jack Ewing called an "absolutely perfect and timely topic": whether or not the Electoral College should be abolished.

Arguing for abolishment were Michelle Glaser, a sophomore from Parma; Cassie Humphreys, a sophomore from Newark; Vincent Ilaqua, a sophomore from Willoughby; and Louis Russo, a junior from Northfield. Arguing to keep the institution were Sam Dimmerling, a sophomore from East Canton and Tracy Wyatt, a post baccalaureate student from Beloit.

The event was organized by Dr. Santosh Saha, associate professor of history, and Cynthia Graham, director of multicultural student affairs. The moderator was Dr. Martin Horning, professor of economics, and the judges were Dr. James Dillon, professor of mathematics; Ernest Pratt, assistant professor of education; Dr. William Coleman, professor of communication; Tania Oldenhage, assistant professor of religion; and Graham.

Glaser began the debate by asking the audience, "Does your vote count?" By analyzing the process by which elections occur, she concluded that it is actually the vote of the Electoral College which counts.

Wyatt spoke second, claiming that our country was not created to be a majoritarian system, but rather one of checks and balances. Small states, she said, receive the benefit of this plan, which assures them that their votes count.

Ilacqua proceeded to call the Electoral College "anachromistic" and "antidemocratic." It is, according to Ilaqua, "an antiquated institution that has outlived its purpose." He proposed a one-person/ one-vote system that would do away with the college entirely.

Next to defend the opinion that the Electoral College should be abolished was Humphreys. She pointed out that the Constitution said, "We the people," not "We the states." She said that it was "common sense that the candidate with the most votes should win."

Dimmerling disagreed. With a voter turnout of less than 50%, he said, it is necessary to have the Electoral College. Modifying the system could cause gerrymandering and run-off elections.

Russo finished the arguments by using analogies to everyday life to prove the unfairness of the electoral college. He then encouraged everyone in the audience to get involved in order to do away with the system.

Russo took first place with his arguments, followed by Humphreys and Glaser taking second and third place, respectively.

Dr. Ewing, who passed out awards, congratulated both sides for their "excellent arguments."

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