Election Law and the Presidency: An Introduction and Overview

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Fordham Law Review, Vol: 85, Issue: 3, Page: 965

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Goldfeder, Jerry H.
FLASH: The Fordham Law Archive of Scholarship and History
presidential election; election law; election process law; Election Law; Law; Law and Society; President/Executive Department; Public Law and Legal Theory
article description
Americans now fully appreciate that presidential candidates are vying for a majority of the Electoral College votes, rather than the individual votes of constituents. Modern campaigns are organized around this goal, and commentators are focused on this reality. As a result, there has been an increased cry to reform the electoral process. After all, if every other public official in the land is elected by receiving more votes than their competitors, why should the President of the United States be elected in this apparently undemocratic fashion? The process appears even more unusual in that electors are chosen pursuant to state law rather than according to any standardized national rules. For example, Maine and Nebraska voters choose their electors by a combination of statewide and congressional district results, while the remaining forty-eight states and Washington, D.C., award their electors to the candidate who wins statewide. Further, all states award their electors to the candidate with a plurality of votes—irrespective of the margin of victory.8 However peculiar the American presidential election system appears, it is exactly how our Founders wanted it.