The passage of the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is generally accepted as June 15, 1804, thus making this weekend the 215th anniversary of the establishment of the Electoral College – as we know it today.

It is becoming more and more likely that the Electoral College won’t be celebrating many more anniversaries.

For background, the 12th Amendment became necessary in response to the elections of 1796 and 1800. In the 1796 election, John Adams, the Federalist Party presidential candidate, received a majority of the electoral votes. Thomas Jefferson, received the second-highest number of electoral votes to be elected vice president. At the time, Adams and Jefferson were political opponents.

Imagine a system in which a George Bush would have to accept an Al Gore as his vice president or a Donald Trump would have to accept a Hillary Clinton as his VP (shudder to think).

By having the president and vice president elected on a party ticket, the problems would be minimized – so the early American statesmen passed the 12th Amendment.

From Electoral College facts at, we read: “Established in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the Electoral College is the formal body which elects the president and vice president of the United States. Each state has as many electors in the Electoral College as it has representatives and senators in the United States Congress. The District of Columbia has three electors. When voters go to the polls in a presidential election, they actually are voting for the slate of electors vowing to cast their ballots for that ticket in the Electoral College. Most states require that all electoral votes go to the candidate who receives the plurality in that state.”

Remember that last fact (because it is about to change): Most states require that all electoral votes go to the candidate who receives the plurality in that state.

The National Popular Vote bill ( would guarantee the presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It has been enacted into law in 15 states and Washington, D.C., with 196 electoral votes (Calif., Colo., Conn., D.C., Del., Hawaii, Ill., Mass., Md., N.J., N.M., N.Y., Ore., R.I., VT. and Wash.).

The political movement is getting very close to the magic number of 270 electoral votes. Let’s face it, this “movement” has nothing to do with improving the system in which we elect presidents. It’s gaining momentum simply because of the 2016 presidential election.

On June 12, Oregon Democratic Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill that would grant the state's Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote. Oregon was the 15th state to join the National Popular Vote compact. Oregon and the other 14 states ought to be ashamed of their collective disrespect for the U.S. Constitution.

In April, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost certified a summary of a petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution. The proposed amendment would change the way Ohio’s Electoral College members vote in presidential elections.

As The Highland County Press reported in April, once the summary language is certified by the attorney general’s office and the initial signatures are verified by the county boards of elections, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to 5 percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election.

There’s also a bill in the Ohio House of Representatives to essentially do away with the autonomy of the Electoral College. Given the present makeup of the Ohio General Assembly, it’s not likely that Gov. Mike DeWine will be seeing anything on his desk in his first term. That’s a good thing.

Why should any of this be of concern?

On June 14, Charlie Kirk was interviewed on Glenn Beck’s radio program to discuss the Electoral College, “the left’s scheme to abolish it and just how close this is to actually happening.”

According to Kirk (, “Ever since Donald Trump won the presidency, the left has been enacting several full frontal assaults on our core institutions. Democrats realized that the system of which we elect a president needs to change, that the system of decentralized elections that gives a voice to middle America – not just Manhattan and Malibu – that system is barrier and a hindrance, toward their quest for total control. A constitutional republic recognizes certain natural rights that can’t be taken away just because the mob wants those to be taken away.”

Meanwhile, the National Popular Vote supporters tout former Republican congressmen Newt Gingrich and Bob Barr as having endorsed their idea, at least in the past. Talk about strange political bedfellows. This might be the first time in history that far-left liberals are sidling up with the likes of Gingrich and Barr.

Tara Ross is a lawyer and the author of “Enlightened Democracy: The Case for the Electoral College.”

The Heritage Foundation published from Ross’s work at

Here is part of Ross’s conclusion after carefully examining the Electoral College:

“America's election systems have operated smoothly for more than 200 years because the Electoral College accomplishes its intended purposes. America's presidential election process preserves federalism, prevents chaos, grants definitive electoral outcomes and prevents tyrannical or unreasonable rule. The Founding Fathers created a stable, well-planned and carefully designed system – and it works.

“Past elections – even the elections of presidents who lost the popular vote – are testaments to the ingenuity of the Founding Fathers. In each case, the victor was able to succeed only because his opponent did not build the national coalition that is required by the Electoral College. In each case, smaller states were protected from their larger neighbors. In each case, the presidential election system functioned effectively to give the country a president with broad-based support.

“Alexander Hamilton was right when he described the Electoral College in The Federalist No. 68. Perhaps the Electoral College is imperfect – but a perfect solution is doubtless unachievable. Nevertheless, the presidential election process devised by the Framers is certainly excellent.”

I agree. And the current push to force Americans – especially those in rural America – to acquiesce to the national popular vote movement will no doubt have its desired affect. That is, to render the votes of rural Americans in many so-called “fly-over” states as essentially a waste of time and effort.

Wouldn’t it be such a wonderful world if all future U.S. presidents were decided by California, Illinois and New York?

Happy birthday, Electoral College. Here’s to many more.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press, Highland County’s only locally owned and operated newspaper.

For more see Trent England at