Recent Proposals for Electoral College Reform

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7 Responses

  1. Alex Hamilton says:

    I am continually amazed that this is even a debate, and among legal scholars at that! Surely they understand why the system we have was put in place to begin with? It is as true now as it was in 1787 – without the electoral college, large states and urban centers run rampant over smaller states and rural people.

    Seriously, if the national popular vote were all that mattered, why would any candidate campaign outside a major city? And what might that candidate’s platform look like?

  2. Bob Sykes says:

    Actually, the Electoral College is only one of a few explicitly anti-democratic institutions established to preserve individual freedom. The others are (1) The Bill of Rights, (2) the Senate and (3) the Supreme Court. If we are going to reform/eliminate the Electoral College in the name of democracy, we should reform/eliminate the others, too. Then we can have a progressive heaven on earth.

  3. Clint says:

    Two words: Fraud and Recount.

    Recall Florida in 2000, and ask yourself: What would happen in a close election decided by national popular vote? There would be detailed recounts and investigations into fraud and voter suppression in every precinct in America.

    Then there’s fraud: Districts which have been controlled by a single party for generations, in states which are the same, have officials with the ability to commit massive voter fraud — but no real incentive to do so, since the state’s electoral votes will go to the “right” candidate and count only once no matter how many dead people vote. In a direct national popular vote every such “vote” would count.

  4. kwo says:

    Also consider the effect of a major disaster in a large urban location (e.g. weather, terrorist attack, etc.). Huge cities or small states could be completely disenfranchised if the disaster struck at the right moment. The electoral college provides a failsafe mechanism to provide some form of representation (at the discretion of the state legislature).

    Prof. Tojaki’s argument for a longer certification period deserves a close look.

  5. Rich V says:

    The electoral college was put in place to ensure that the elected president was approved by a MAJORITY OF STATES, not from the “popular” vote.

    Under this concept, ALL the states become important to the election. Can you imagine, DE’s 3 votes mattering in the “grand scheme” of things? However, in a close election, the candidate that wins a majority of states, wins the election.

    If we change the system to the national popular vote, then only (roughly) ten states will actually matter, MA, NY PA, OH, IL, FL, TX, CA…will actually see candidates campaign. After all why should they spend money in WI or NM, when their votes really don’t matter?

  6. John D says:

    This is just another symptom of the common delusion that the U.S. is or should be a Democracy. It should come as no surprise to anyone reading this or other legal blogs that the founders did not want and in fact fear direct democracy.

    One of the most destructive contributions of the Warren Court, which had many, was the “one man, one vote” decision which changed the entire landscape of politics in America. Under this decision the U.S. Senate would be unconstitutional if its structure wasn’t laid out in the Constitution itself.

  7. Brian Hope says:

    If you look at the real-population/electoral count ratio for individual states, there is a significant imbalance in favor of rural states. In a direct-vote system, any corruption in one electoral district would have a minimal effect with no winner-take-all state system to magnify the effect of said local situation. The electoral college should be put in the same constitutional dustbin with such antiquated relics as senators being selected by state legislatures.