Argument: The electoral college helps protect the interests of smaller states in the union

Issue Report: US electoral college


  • “The Case for the Electoral College”. New York Times (opinion). December 19, 2000. “The Electoral College was first and foremost a compact among states, large and small, designed to ensure that one state or one region did not dominate the others. As Charles Fried noted in a recent Op-Ed piece, it was and is one of those safeguards of a balanced federalism — much like the allocation of two senators to each state, regardless of size. And by offering the promise that even the smallest states could tip the balance in close elections, the system made it impossible to ignore them. This, in turn, required presidential candidates to build alliances across ideological and geographical lines.”
  • “We Should Keep the Electoral College”. New York Times. December 25, 1991 – “Without the winner-take-all principle power would shift from large heterogeneous states, which tend to divide their popular votes fairly evenly between the two major parties, to smaller more homogeneous states, where Presidential candidates could build bigger popular pluralities. Ethnic, racial and religious minorities that often vote as blocs would thus lose their strategic importance.”
…”Finally, nationalizing the Presidential electorate would erode the role of the states in our Federal system and undercut the multiplicity of interests that give our polity its character. Our founders thought of citizens as members of localities, states and regions as well as of the nation. They sought, in Walter Lippmann’s phrase, ‘to approximate a true representation of the people by providing many different ways of counting heads.'”