Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Tom Gangale has an interesting spin on the Electoral College reform debate. Might we be able to change it dramatically without a Constitutional Amendment? Read on and comment!


Electoral College Reform

by Thomas Gangale

After almost every presidential election the idea of reforming the Electoral College--or outright abolishing it--gets kicked around. These ideas go nowhere fast for the simple reason that there are more small states that are advantaged by the current system than there are large states that are disadvantaged by it. Thus, a constitutional amendment will never pass the US Senate by a two-thirds majority, and even if it did, it would never be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures (see my op-ed in the Dec. 29, 2004 Santa Rosa Press Democrat at <>).

Another avenue of reform that is often discussed is changing the allocation of individual states' electors by state legislation, but this presents a massive collection problem that is equally hopeless, and it still doesn't address the problem of the small states having disproportional electoral power.

The path of least resistance would be enacting reform by federal statute, which only requires a simple majority in the House and the Senate. But would such a statute be constitutional? Either I have found a loophole in the Constitution that would permit a reformulation of the Electoral College in order to bring it much closer to the principle of "one person, one vote" (see <>) or my argument is based on a specious word game.

By definition, all of us on this blog are political junkies. (My name is Tom, and I'm a political junkie!) However, are there any other political scientists or some constitutional lawyers in the audience who could give this issue an authoritative critique?

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