The Electoral College

August 30, 2019 • Volume 29, Issue 30
Should the popular vote replace it?
By Tom Price


With two of the three most recent presidents entering the White House after losing the popular vote, activists have intensified their efforts to eliminate, change or bypass the Electoral College, the system in which political party leaders nominate electors in each state who vote to select the president based on how their state voted. Electoral College critics, who tend to be Democrats, are pressuring states to join an interstate compact that would require the states' electors to vote for the winner of the national popular vote, regardless of the results in their individual state. Fifteen states and the District of Columbia — which together control 196 electoral votes — have joined the compact, which would take effect only if enough states sign on to control the 270 votes required to elect a president. Polls show most Americans prefer that presidents be elected by popular vote. But Electoral College supporters, who tend to be Republicans, say scrapping the college would reduce the political power of small states and rural areas.

Brock Ervin (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Brock Ervin holds a sign outside the Indiana House chamber in Indianapolis on Dec. 19, 2016, before the state's 11 Electoral College representatives gathered to formally cast their votes for President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Protesters wanted the Trump-Pence-pledged electors to vote for different candidates. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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
Campaigns and Elections
Congress Actions
Conservatism and Liberalism
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
State, Local, and Intergovernmental Relations
Supreme Court History and Decisions