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Electoral College is an Outdated Relic, Constitutional Scholar Says During Visit

November 22, 2011

The Electoral College is an “antiquated” system that can skew the results of presidential elections and undermine our democracy said Jamin Raskin, a professor at American University’s law school and a state senator from Maryland, during a talk on Nov. 22.

Basing national elections on the popular vote would give all voters an equal say in choosing a president, Raskin said during a visit sponsored by the American Constitution Society.

Convening electors to choose the president, based on the will of voters in different states, was a necessity during the nation’s formative years, when it took weeks for news to travel from Boston to North Carolina, Raskin said.

But in an era when most states predictably back either Democrats or Republicans, voters in a handful of states have undue influence, Raskin argued, adding that the system invites parties “to do whatever needs to be done in order to win.”

Basing national election results on the popular vote would give voters in all states equal influence, he said, noting that lawmakers in nine states (representing 132 of the nation’s 270 electoral votes) have already enacted legislation supporting the move.