Defending the Electoral College since 2009
Opponents of the Electoral College are crowing about the latest Pew Research Poll, which claims to show that most Americans want a direct election for President. It’s important to note that the poll contrasts the Electoral College with an imaginary election scheme, providing no details at all about the latter. It certainly does not apply to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact scheme, which has many unique problems due to sloppy drafting and its attempt at an end run around the constitutional amendment process.
Due to poor civics education, many Americans do not understand the Electoral College. Common misperceptions include the idea that Presidential Electors are politicians or chosen by politicians (the Constitution prohibits federal officials from serving as Electors and every state holds a popular vote to choose its Electors). Another fact that surprises most Americans is how similar our system is to the parliamentary systems used by major democratic nations around the world—in those systems, just like ours, the nationwide popular vote is not determinative.
What matters in this debate is what Americans think when they understand the Electoral College, its costs and benefits, and those of any specific alternative. The Pew poll provides no such insights and is thus of no real value in the debate over how best to elect the President of the United States.
Time is running out
There is a real, immediate threat to the constitutional way we elect our president. National Popular Vote is 76% of the way to implementing their dangerous plan.