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The Electoral College


Most historians will tell us that ancient Greeks gave us democracy, that miraculous gift of political freedom that ultimately rescued civilizations from the shackles of monarchy. However, the Greeks also gave us the term "hoi polloi" (1) which, at least today, casts a somewhat negative light upon (2) the great masses of regular folks that compose a country. These people, hoi polloi, with all their flaws, are the ones who actually determine the shape of our democracy. Or are they! (3)


It would seem, at first glance, that there would be nothing more straightforward than electing a public official. Everybody votes, the votes are tabulated, and (4) the winner is declared. The voice of hoi polloi is transferred directly to action—right? In the United States the very altar of modern-day democracy, that is not exactly true. (5)


In the United States, each individual vote actually goes toward the election of an elector. The elector, as a representative of the voting body, then casts the votes that actually decide who wins or loses the election. While the electoral system has been in place since the 1800s, it does not have, nor has it ever had, united (6) appeal; in fact, (7) with the passage of time, it became (8) increasingly controversial, with some calling for its elimination.


There are 538 total electors, distributed unevenly across the 50 states. Some states have as few as 3 electors, California, (9) however, has an astonishing 55. When all the votes in a state are cast, the electors then cast their own votes for the candidate of either party, as representatives of the majority in a state. Typically, all of the electors in a given state are allotted for (10) whomever gets the most votes in that particular state. The widely varying numbers of electors make some states particularly valuable for candidates’ chances (11) at winning election, while other states mean less.


The fly in the ointment is that giving all of the electors in a state to the candidate with the most votes does not properly reflect the way a state voted. This is also because (12) the system makes it all too possible that a candidate might lose the popular vote and still win the election.


That said, voters in favor of the electoral college maintain (13) that it ensures a certain degree of fairness in voting: it (14) prevents states with huge populations from dominating the voting field. As time passes, thinking on the electoral college may evolve. [15]

Directions: Choose the option for the underlined portion that best expresses the idea in standard written English and that is most consistent with the style and tone of the passage. If the original version is correct, select NO CHANGE. If there is a question provided, choose the best answer to the question.

in fact, with the passage of time, it became increasingly controversial, with some calling for its elimination.


The Electoral College

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