The job of the Electoral College is to select the President and Vice President after the people of each state have voted. When the national vote and the electoral vote reach different conclusions, as happened in 2016, voters on the losing side cry foul. Why do we have an electoral college in the first place?
In this first of three presentations on our constitutional democracy, we will consider the rationale behind this 18th century institution. Alexander Hamilton argued that the Electoral College would reduce the “tumult and disorder” of a presidential election. Critics of the electoral college point to its racist origins: by following the political calculations of the 3/5ths clause, the Electoral College (like the House of Representatives) favored slave-holding states.
Nowadays apportionment in the Electoral College favors rural states. Vermont gets far more representation per capita in the Electoral College than more urban states like California. We’ll consider how the Electoral College and the federalist system benefits Vermonters. Is this really a privilege we want to forgo?
After 20 years of teaching constitutional law and political theory at Marlboro College, Meg Mott has taken her love of argument to the general public. Since the 2016 election, Meg has been traveling around the Northeast presenting on the Constitution. Mott’s opinions on constitutional protections have appeared in the Washington Post, Inside Higher Ed, and the Brattleboro Reformer.