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Regular version of the site

Article

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Three Proposals to Introduce the Nationwide Popular Vote in U.S. Presidential Elections

Michigan Law Review. 2008. Vol. 106. P. 110-116.

The idea of reforming the Electoral College recurs each time a presidential election nears. Polls show that an overwhelming majority of respondents support abolishing the Electoral College in favor of direct popular election of the President. Yet, it is doubtful whether these polls really imply that such a move would be best for the country. Despite the seeming simplicity of direct popular presidential election, its introduction in the United States—a country in which the clear separation of powers between the states and the federal government has existed for more than two centuries—would have hidden drawbacks that the media and pollsters usually fail to communicate. Further, the existing Electoral College-based system of electing a President is complicated, and the simplistic media coverage of American social and political phenomena fails to educate voters about the nuances of that system. Thus, pollsters are asking people whether they favor replacing the Electoral College, a system that many respondents don’t sufficiently understand, with direct popular election, a system that many respondents also don’t necessarily understand.