Electoral College Alternatives and U.S. Presidential Elections
George Washington University - Department of Economics
February 1, 2004
Supreme Court Economic Review, Vol. 12, 2004
The President of the United States is chosen directly by the Electoral College, although indirectly the citizens select the President. Different states currently employ two systems of electoral-vote allocation under the Electoral College framework: the widely adopted winner-take-all system and the system adopted by Maine and Nebraska. The properties of these two systems are analyzed against the backdrop of majority rule and the notion that every vote counts. Two variants of the existing systems are then introduced, using intuitive proportional rules to allocate electoral votes under the Electoral College. These proposed systems are compared to the existing winner-take-all system and to the Maine-Nebraska system. Further, the outcomes of three historical Presidential Elections are considered under different electoral allocation systems. This study highlights basic properties of the Electoral College and possible variants of the current system so that better judgments can be made in future debates.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: Presidential election, Electoral College, Winner-take-all
JEL Classification: D72, H00, K00, A10Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 26, 2004 ; Last revised: September 8, 2008
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