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Today the Electoral College operates mostly like an algorithm, automatically converting popular votes into electoral ones. But the Constitution originally created the Electoral College to be a fourth institution in federal government. Elected and assembled every four years, this body would deliberate and elect the next President of the United States. Nearly 30 years ago, AEI published a collection of essays on the College: “After the People Vote,” edited by the late Walter Berns.
For years, some activists have called for the Electoral College to be abolished and replaced with a single national popular vote, while others ask how much power the states or Congress can assert over the votes of the College’s individual members. The latter question now arrives at the Supreme Court, in a pair of cases to be argued on May 13. Those cases center on questions of the respective powers of Congress, the states, and the electors themselves. To discuss them, Unprecedential welcomes Professor Derek Muller, an expert on the law of American democracy.
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