The Electoral College

Has the electoral college strayed from its original purpose?

Representation and the Electoral College

Alexander, Robert M. Oxford, 2019
216p bibl index, 9780190939427 $99.00, 9780190939434 $24,95, 9780190939458

The institutional mechanism by which the president of the United States is selected, the Electoral College, is one of the least understood elements of the American political process. How does the Electoral College relate to the concept of representation? Although he is an admitted critic of the Electoral College, Alexander (Ohio Northern Univ.) provides a thorough, thoughtful, balanced analysis, carefully and engagingly shedding light on the multiple ways the Electoral College affects the nature of representation in the US. Drawing on historical primary source materials, original surveys of presidential electors, and previous scholarly work, Alexander explores the Founders’ design of and original intent for the Electoral College and looks at how the institution has consistently evolved away from its origins. Federalism is a key focus. As one might expect, Alexander gives particular attention to those presidential contests in which the winner of the Electoral College vote did not win the popular vote, singling out the 2016 election. The author closes with insightful thoughts on possible reform options. An invaluable examination of the Electoral College at a critical juncture in American politics, this book could not be more timely.

Summing Up: Essential. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals; general readers.
Reviewer: M. D. Brewer, University of Maine
Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – Political Science – U.S. Politics
Choice Issue: Sep 2019