AP NEWS

Steve Cohen, Dem lawmaker, says Electoral College was ‘conceived in sin’ to protect slavery

March 19, 2019

Rep. Steve Cohen has joined Democratic calls to abolish the Electoral College, saying it’s an outdated system that was “conceived in sin” as a way to protect slavery.

“The country is different than it was when the Constitution was drafted,” the Tennessee Democrat said Tuesday on CNN. “When the Constitution was drafted, a lot of it had to do with slavery.

“The slave states wanted equal representation in the Senate because they wanted to keep slavery,” he said. “The slave states wanted to have an electoral college to where the members that they had in Congress counted towards the vote of president where the slaves counted as two-thirds in a popular vote they would count as zero. So the slave states didn’t want a popular election because their slaves wouldn’t count towards voting and the slave states would have less votes.”

“This is all conceived in sin and perpetuating slavery on the American people and on the African-American people, directly,” he added.

Mr. Cohen’s comments came one day after 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren promised to “get rid of” the Electoral College during a CNN Town Hall in Mississippi.

“We need to make sure that every vote counts,” the senator said Monday.

Mr. Cohen, who introduced a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College in January, said Tuesday that he plans to send the bill to Ms. Warren for her to sponsor it in the Senate.

“The people in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles Republicans and conservatives live there, too, and vote there as well,” Mr. Cohen said on CNN. “But right now people in Tennessee don’t count because we know the state’s going to go Republican. But if it’s a popular vote, people would come to Tennessee to get those votes, in Memphis and other places, and it would be a much more democratic system and fair.

“The American people need to take control of their government that’s been lost to entities that have eliminated the middle class,” he added.