Task 3. Read the following passage and answer the NOT/EXCEPT questions that follow. They are followed by detail questions for you to review as well
The Electoral College
Among the democracies of the world, the United States is distinguished by the manner in which its people select the country's head of state. Neither a parliamentary system like that of the United Kingdom or Japan, nor a system of direct popular vote as in France or South Korea, the Electoral College used in the United States is complex, anachronistic, and a handicap to the democratic process. Some people argue that the elimination of the College is necessary to bring the United States into the world of modern democracy, with an energetic, involved electorate and presidents who are in touch with the needs and wants of the citizens who vote for them.
The great complexity of the current system has the unfortunate consequence of blinding most citizens to its workings. In effect, the Electoral College makes the presidential election into a two-stage process. Each of the 50 states is allotted a number of electoral votes, which are used only to elect the president. These votes correspond to the number of that state's Congressional members: two for each state's two senators, and a variable number for each state's representatives, for a total of 538. As a result, states with small populations, like Alaska and Vermont, may have only three or four electors, while large states like California, Texas, or New York may have dozens. On Election Day, each state holds its own presidential vote, making the race into 50 little mini-elections. First, within each state, one presidential candidate wins the popular vote, which is the vote by the citizens. The winner chosen by the people is usually awarded all of that state's electors. The ultimate victor is the candidate who wins the largest number of electoral votes nationwide. Therefore, it's important for a candidate to win the popular vote in states with the most electoral votes.
Why was such a complex and problematic system ever imposed in the first place? The answer lies in the origins of the American federal system. When the country was established, there was relatively little sense of national identity. People identified themselves as citizens of their states first, as Americans second. Each state functioned a lot like an independent country, and so it made sense to make decisions that affected the entire nation at the statelevel. Furthermore, even in its earliest days, the United States was a very large country, stretching over 1,600 kilometers of coastline. Communication and transportation systems between disparate parts of the country were extremely poor, and so running campaigns nationally, rather than on a state-by-state basis, would have been quite difficult. So the Electoral College was provided as a solution.
But neither of these factors is any longer the case. Americans have developed a very strong sense of national identity and demand to play a direct role in the selection of their leaders. Mass media and powerful party organizations make national political campaigns easy to conduct. But there are further problems with the Electoral College system. Because presidential candidates know that they only need electoral votes, not popular votes, they avoid campaigning in small states, or states where they know their opponents are likely to win, creating a gulf between themselves and a significant fraction of the electorate. Furthermore, many members of political minorities don't bother to vote at all, because they know that the candidate they support won't win in their state anyway. Both situations have the effect of reducing citizen representation and form obstacles to a healthy democracy. The final problem with the electoral system is by far the largest one. Because of its "winner-take-all" nature, the Electoral College can actually elect a candidate who received fewer popular votes than the opposition, altogether thwarting the purpose of holding an election in the first place. This unfortunate circumstance has in fact come about several times in the nation's history, most recently in the 2000 election of George W. Bush.
Its original justifications outmoded, its operations inscrutable, and its effects at odds with the goals of a democracy, the Electoral College is an institution that some would like to abandon. In its place, the United States should adopt a modern system of electing the president, one that will promote, not discourage, the full participation of all citizens. Such a method will remind our presidential candidates that it is the peoples' voices that matter most.
1. Which of the following is NOT mentioned in the passage as being a problem with
the Electoral College system?
(A) There is a lack of connection between candidates and citizens.
(B) Many members of political minorities do not vote.
(C) Presidential candidates don't campaign in small states.
(D) Larger states have more influence over national policy smaller states.
2. In Paragraph 3, the author's description of the United States at the time of the
nation's founding mentions all of the following, EXCEPT
(A) The independence of each state
(B) The size of the nation's population
(C) The country's transportation network
(D) The nation's communication system
3. The author makes all the following statements about modern Americans, EXCEPT
(A) They are loyal to their political parties.
(B) They have a strong sense of national identity.
(C) They want to be directly involved in choosing their leaders.
(D) They do not understand how the electoral system functions.
4. Which of the following details supports the main idea?
(A) Each of the 50 states is allotted a number of electoral votes corresponding to the size of that state's congressional delegation.
(B) Even in its earliest days, the United States was a very large country, stretching over 1,600 kilometers of coastline.
(C) Because of its "winner-take-all" nature, the Electoral College can actually elect a candidate who received fewer popular votes than the opposition.
(D) Those who would cling to the Electoral College are motivated by self-interest or by a misguided sense of tradition.
5. What does the author state about the Electoral College?
(A) It retains the support of the major political parties.
(B) It has been a source of political controversy since its creation.
(C) It has been adopted as a basis for electoral systems in other countries.
(D) It was created to overcome the difficulties of running a national campaign.