CRF Blog

Ten questions, and answers, about the electoral college

by Bill Hayes

In Ten questions, and answers, about the electoral college for the Los Angeles Times, law professor Akhil Reed Amar takes a critical look at how we elect our presidents.

Was the electoral college designed to balance big and small states? Not really. The Congress was indeed so designed, with the House favoring populous states and the Senate giving each state two votes regardless of population. But in the electoral college, big states have more sway, and they have since the beginning.

What about the idea that the framers distrusted direct democracy? It’s overstated.  The framers put the Constitution itself to a popular vote of sorts, provided for direct election of House members (thus breaking with the Articles of Confederation) and favored direct election of governors. [more]

For a free classroom lesson titled “The Electoral College,” go to our Bill of Rights in Action Archive. The lesson is currently only in PDF and you will have to register (if you haven’t already), which is free.