The 2016 presidential election caused quite a bit of outrage, especially here at Hendrix. Many Americans were angry and wanted to get involved in some way. Quite a bit of outrage was aimed at the Electoral College. While Donald Trump clearly won the Electoral College with 304 votes to Hillary Clinton’s 227, he also lost the popular vote by almost 3 million votes. To many outsiders viewing the American election, it does not make much sense to declare someone a winner who actually received fewer votes than their opponent.
Some of these questions were raised by Hendrix students. Wes Hance, a sophomore politics major, became involved with Arkansas Electoral Reform in response to the recent election. The goal of this group is to push for legislation in Arkansas to better the electoral process. Hance joined the group to learn more about government reform.
“[I wanted to learn] how citizens can create legislative change from the grassroots level in an effort to better state elections,” Hance said.
Some specific proposals that the group has begun to seek are reforms which would allow more Arkansans to vote, such as mailing a ballot to every Arkansan. There are also some specific reforms which would make each vote more impactful, such as switching to ranked choice voting and signing the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.
Following the election, this group of Hendrix students have already been very active in trying to accomplish the goals they have for electoral reform. This group is also trying to work off of early momentum in order to accomplish even more important tasks.
The group hopes to network with political advocacy groups as well as other state officials in order to try and gain support for possible legislation in the state assembly which would attempt to address the issues that the group has laid out. Hance stated that the group has plans for even further in the future.
“[We hope to] bring about enough momentum to start a ballot initiative for the 2018 election cycle,” Hance said.
Hance hopes that continued motivation will bring about the change that is necessary for a more representative democracy.
“Voting is the collective voice of the people and it creates meaningful change in government, and that is why electoral reform is so important,” Hance said.