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

22 Pages Posted: 2 Oct 2011 Last revised: 27 Oct 2011

Vikram D. Amar

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: October 1, 2011

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.

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1936374

Vikram D. Amar (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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