What are the alleged advantages and disadvantages of various reformed proposals. And analyze the criticism of the Electoral College.

Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Electoral College, while controversial in some respects, probably isn't going anywhere because it is part of the Constitution, and abolishing it would require support from more states than we could get the votes for to amend the Constitution.

There are really only two main reform proposals:

1)  Abolition - The Electoral College is most often a winner take all system for each state, that is the electoral vote does not always represent the popular vote nationwide, and it is possible to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote that counts.  This happened as recently as the year 2000 with Gore receiving 600,000 votes more than Bush, but losing the election.  The drawback to this proposal is that smaller states would receive a statistically smaller amount of representation with a straight popular vote than they do with the Electoral College.  Each state gets a minimum of three electoral votes, and 3/538 is greater than their percentage of the population as a whole.

2)  The second reform, which is much more achievable, is to abandon the winner take all system of apportioning electoral votes in each state and award a percentage of electoral votes equal to the popular results.  The drawbacks are that every state would have to move to this method, it still wouldn't accurately represent the popular results, and smaller states would still lose some influence.

mvymvy | Student

Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in the small, medium, or large states (35) where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the state-by-state winner-take-all rule enacted by 48 states, under which all of a state's electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

A candidate has won the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide in one of every 14 presidential elections.

In the past six decades, there have been six presidential elections in which a shift of a relatively small number of votes in one or two states would have elected (and, in 2000, did elect) a presidential candidate who lost the popular vote nationwide.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes--that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president. The National Popular Vote bill does not try to abolish the Electoral College, which would need a constitutional amendment, and could be stopped by states with as little as 3% of the U.S. population. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President (for example, ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote) have come about without federal constitutional amendments, by state legislative action.


The bill has passed 29 state legislative chambers, including one house in AR DE, ME, MI, NM, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, RI, VT, and WA. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington. These five states possess 61 electoral votes -- 23% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.


see www.NationalPopularVote.com