On the eve of the election, we explore the history of how the U.S. maintained such a convoluted and undemocratic system called the Electoral College for electing the president. We also compare it to other forms of government throughout the world to see if a better system can replace it. Special guests include Alex Keyssar, Matthew W. Stirling Jr. Professor of History and Social Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and Kieran Jacobson, the AP Comparative Government and Politics teacher at Eastlake High School.
Professor Keyssar provides more information about the Electoral College in his book The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States. His most recent book, Why Do We Still Have the Electoral College, dives deeper into the how the Electoral College has stayed in place despite numerous attempts to reform it. You can view a video synopsis of the book here.
The Electoral College is one of the many legacy institutions that has sparked advocacy for change, especially among those who want to make the U.S. more democratic. You can see how the Electoral College is playing an outsized role in selecting our president by following live results of the 2020 presidential election.