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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 1, 2009 at 4:00 PM

The Electoral College

Old practices worth preserving

It is always healthy for Americans to take an interest in our Constitution, even when they miss the point, as Ron Hopper did in his recent letter [“The electoral college,” Northwest Voices, March 29]. He dismisses the Electoral College, our American way of electing presidents, claiming, “There is no place in today’s society for 200-year-old practices.”

Perhaps Hopper would also like to ditch freedom of speech and the press? After all, the First Amendment is just a tad younger than the rest of the Constitution. What about “created equal” and “inalienable rights” — those sentiments, from the Declaration of Independence, are even older.

The test of such institutions is time, a test the Electoral College has passed. By forcing candidates to build broad, national coalitions and to focus on the most evenly divided states, the Electoral College is a source of both unity and moderation.

Hopper smugly dismisses the past simply because it is past. I would rather learn from it, abandoning its failures while embracing its successes.

In the case of the Electoral College, I find every reason to believe this uniquely American institution is worth preserving.

— Trent England, Olympia

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