Author(s)

Joelle Gross

Date of this Version

4-7-2021

Advisor

Marc Meredith

Abstract

Given the structure of our Electoral College, there are places in the United States in which votes simply matter more. Many Americans believe the Electoral College is unfair, antiquated, and in desperate need of reform. However, alternative electoral proposals designed to reform our current system may not provide the benefits we seek from an ideal electoral process. In my thesis, I compare and contrast the current winner-takes-all method of allocating a state’s electoral votes to one of its most similar and realistic alternatives—the district plan. I compare the two systems against several criteria that are vital to a well-functioning and healthy democratic process: legitimacy, inclusiveness, neutrality, simplicity, equality, participation, and feasibility. Overall, my results demonstrate that while the district plan might offer certain advantages—for example, increased electoral legitimacy, an expanded campaigning map, and the possibility for higher rates of voter turnout nationwide—these benefits are neither numerous nor profound when considering the immense hurdle of passing an electoral reform amendment. Ultimately, the future of electoral reform rests either on an emphatic embrace of the current system or an abolishment of the Electoral College and complete restructuring of the electoral process—no in-between compromise is worth the price.

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Date Posted: 19 May 2021

 

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