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The Case for Reforming Presidential Elections by Subconstitutional Means: The Electoral College, the National Popular Vote Compact, and Congressional Power


Vikram D. Amar


University of California, Davis - School of Law

October 1, 2011

Georgetown Law Journal, Forthcoming
UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 279

Abstract:     
This essay addresses and debunks various criticisms of the National Popular Vote Compact movement, including the suggestion that a move to a national popular presidential election would undermine federalism or regionalism values and the notion that a national popular vote would produce plurality winners and/or embolden third-party candidates. The essay then turns to the key question of whether a national popular vote with different voting rules in each state is workable, and in particular the sources of power Congress has to remedy any problems with the design of the current National Popular Vote Compact plan being adopted by many states. There are good arguments in favor of Congressional power to iron out difficulties, especially once a compact is up and running. For this reason, the idea floated by some that only a constitutional amendment can bring about a national popular vote is misguided.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

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Date posted: October 2, 2011 ; Last revised: October 27, 2011

Suggested Citation

Amar, Vikram D., The Case for Reforming Presidential Elections by Subconstitutional Means: The Electoral College, the National Popular Vote Compact, and Congressional Power (October 1, 2011). Georgetown Law Journal, Forthcoming; UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 279. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1936374

Contact Information

Vikram D. Amar (Contact Author)
University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )
Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA 95616-5201
United States
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