Electoral College: Reform Proposals in the 109th Congress [Updated March 12, 2007]   [open pdf - 149KB]

"American voters elect the President and Vice President of the United States under a complex arrangement of constitutional provisions, federal and state laws, and political party practices known as the electoral college system. For additional information on contemporary operation of the system, please consult CRS [Congressional Research Service] Report RL32611, 'The Electoral College: How It Works in Contemporary Presidential Elections', by Thomas H. Neale. Despite occasional close elections, this system has delivered uncontested results in 47 of 51 elections since the 12th Amendment was ratified in 1804. Down these many years, however, it has been the subject of persistent criticism and numerous reform proposals. In the contemporary context, related measures fall into two basic categories: those that would eliminate the electoral college and substitute direct popular election of the President and Vice President, and those that would retain the existing system in some form, while correcting perceived defects. Four relevant proposed amendments were introduced in the 109th Congress: H.J.Res. 8 (Representative Gene Green, and others); H.J.Res. 17 (Representative Eliot Engel and others); H.J.Res. 36, (Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., and others); H.J.Res. 50 (Representative Zoe Lofgren and others); and S.J.Res. 11 (Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer). All proposed to eliminate the electoral college and substitute direct popular election, while H.J.Res. 8, H.J.Res. 17, H.J.Res. 50 and S.J.Res. 11 also sought to empower Congress to set federal standards for various aspects of voting registration and election administration procedures. The House measures were referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary and to its Subcommittee on the Constitution, while S.J.Res. 11 was referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. No further action was taken on any of them during the life of the 109th Congress. For additional information on electoral college contingencies and broader aspects of reform proposals, please consult CRS Report RL30804, 'The Electoral College: An Overview and Analysis of Reform Proposals', by L. Paige Whitaker and Thomas H. Neale. This report will not be updated."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32831
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Department of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/
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