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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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Reform Efforts and Thoughts on the Electoral College

Reform Efforts and Thoughts on the Electoral College

8 Reform Efforts and Thoughts on the Electoral College
Representation and the Electoral College

Robert M. Alexander

Oxford University Press

This chapter evaluates how the Electoral College performs relative to norms associated with representation. While Electoral College practices have changed considerably, many arguments applied to the body rely on original expectations of the institution. This study reveals that the Electoral College performs poorly along many dimensions associated with norms of representation. Not surprisingly, many reforms have been proposed to the body. These include making electoral votes automatic, adopting some form of proportional representation to award electoral votes, and abolishing the Electoral College in favor of a national popular vote. These reforms are discussed and evaluated relative to the criteria associated with norms of representation. Although the institution often fails to perform in many of the ways its proponents suggest, it has been resistant to change. Absent pressure from large numbers of citizens from across the political spectrum, wholesale change to the institution is unlikely to occur in the near future.

Keywords:   national popular vote plan, NPV, proportional representation, district plan, instant runoff voting, automatic plan, binding laws, wasted vote

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