The Electoral College

August 18, 1944

Report Outline
Demands for Abolition of Electoral College
The Constitutional Plan of Election
Progress Toward Popular Choice of President
Current Proposals for Change in Electoral System
Special Focus

Demands for Abolition of Electoral College

Presidential Electors as Free Agents

Renewed efforts to abolish the electoral college system were promptly undertaken in Congress when the state Democratic convention in Texas instructed its candidates for presidential elector, contingent on certain action by the Democratic National Convention, to vote for some Democrat other than the convention's nominee for President.

By this action last May, Texas Democrats drew national attention to the fact that under the Constitution members of the electoral college may cast their ballots for anyone they please, including the candidate of the opposing party, and only by virtue of a tacit agreement that electors will vote for the candidate of the party nominating them can the votes of the people for President be effective. Further, if even a small number of one state's electors withhold their votes from the nominee of their party they may, in a close contest, deprive any candidate of the necessary majority in the electoral college and throw the choice of a President into Congress.

Two constitutional amendments to abolish the electoral college system are now pending in the Senate and one in the House, In the opinion of Sen. Hatch (D., N. M.) should any of the electors chosen next November 7 fail to support the candidate of the party they were elected to represent “the people would change the Constitution quicker than it was changed by the repeal of the 18th amendment, because the people will not stand for that sort of thing.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Electoral College
Aug. 30, 2019  The Electoral College
Dec. 08, 2000  Electoral College
Nov. 19, 1976  Electoral College Reform
Aug. 18, 1944  The Electoral College
Jul. 10, 1940  Abolition of the Electoral College
Mar. 22, 1924  Effects of a Deadlock in the Electoral College
Campaigns and Elections
Voting and Suffrage