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Representation and the Electoral College$
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Robert M. Alexander

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190939427

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190939427.001.0001

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Presidential Electors as Agents of Representation

Presidential Electors as Agents of Representation

(p.122) 6 Presidential Electors as Agents of Representation
Representation and the Electoral College

Robert M. Alexander

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the office and evolution of presidential electors. It also provides an in-depth examination of those who have served as electors over the past two decades. The office changed considerably from its original conception to its current practice. Originally, it was expected that electors would select the president and vice president through debate and their own discernment. The emergence of political parties and the adoption of the winner-take-all system rendered this conception of electors as obsolete. Electors have come to be chosen not for their judgment but for their loyalty. To this point, electors who fail to vote as expected are deemed to be “faithless.” Although expectations of the office have changed, the Constitution has not, and electors continue to hold discretion. Surveys of electors reveal that many consider joining the ranks of the faithless and are often lobbied to do so.

Keywords:   presidential elector, faithless elector, wavering elector, Federalist 68, binding legislation, trustee, delegate, lobbying

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