Electoral College Alternatives and U.S. Presidential Elections

31 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2004 Last revised: 8 Sep 2008

See all articles by Vincy Fon

Vincy Fon

George Washington University - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 1, 2004


The President of the United States is chosen directly by the Electoral College, although indirectly the citizens select the President. Different states currently employ two systems of electoral-vote allocation under the Electoral College framework: the widely adopted winner-take-all system and the system adopted by Maine and Nebraska. The properties of these two systems are analyzed against the backdrop of majority rule and the notion that every vote counts. Two variants of the existing systems are then introduced, using intuitive proportional rules to allocate electoral votes under the Electoral College. These proposed systems are compared to the existing winner-take-all system and to the Maine-Nebraska system. Further, the outcomes of three historical Presidential Elections are considered under different electoral allocation systems. This study highlights basic properties of the Electoral College and possible variants of the current system so that better judgments can be made in future debates.

Keywords: Presidential election, Electoral College, Winner-take-all

JEL Classification: D72, H00, K00, A10

Suggested Citation

Fon, Vincy, Electoral College Alternatives and U.S. Presidential Elections (February 1, 2004). Supreme Court Economic Review, Vol. 12, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=535322 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.535322

Vincy Fon (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Economics ( email )

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