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Options for Electoral College Reform The recent presidential election has re-raised the question of electoral college reform since the presumptive winner of the electoral college lost the popular vote like Benjamin Harrison did in 1888 Many are saying that if the loser of the popular vote serves as president he will like Harrison be very weakened by a lack of mandate Therefore quite a few people including Senator Hillary Clinton are calling for a constitutional amendment that would elect the president by a pure popular vote In my youth I would have supported such a reform I remember Hubert Humphrey calling for it back in those days But there are quite a few other alternatives for reforming the archaic system we use some of which might offer advantages over a simple popular vote The first question that has to be looked at is What are the problems that we are trying to reform Obviously we need to reform the habit of using cheap and unreliable voting equipment such as Votomatic card punches but thats not a constitutional issue The concerns with the electoral college system itself are these 1 The candidate who loses the popular vote can win the election by being unpopular in the most populous states This is not necessarily a problem The framers quite deliberately chose this rule giving voters in sparsely populated states more weight than voters in heavily populated ones so that the interests of smaller states would not be overwhelmed It was a compromise between backers of states the existing power structure at the time which many were reluctant to see weakened and advocates of the people 2 The candidate who loses the popular vote can win the election if he happens to get small wins in many states while his opponent gets larger wins in fewer states regardless of the size of the states involved This is because of the winner take all rule that
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