Document Type

Article

Publication Title

Michigan Law Review First Impressions

Publication Date

2008

Abstract

The Electoral College is a relic from another time and is in tension with the modern constitutional command of “one person, one vote.” But the Electoral College is, nevertheless, ensconced in our Constitution—and, as a result, we would need to amend the document to alter or abolish it from our political fabric. Still, some states are toying with state-based Electoral College reforms. Thus, irrespective of whether voters in those states favor the abolition of the Electoral College through a federal constitutional amendment, they must critically examine the democratic merits of these state-based reform options. Categorically rejecting all state-based reform is unwise, owing to obvious and substantial barriers to direct federal or constitutional action. Although states have the flexibility and authority under Article II of the Constitution to award their electoral votes in different ways, under the current system all but two states award their electoral votes in a “winner-take-all” fashion, with no votes allocated to the statewide popular vote loser. This scheme has dominated the electoral vote landscape since the rise of political parties, and it presently enables presidential candidates to focus their campaigns on a small percentage of voters from a tiny number of swing states while disregarding the needs of the rest of the nation.

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