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November 28, 2012 12:36 PM Would Alternatives to the Electoral College Be Any Fairer?

By John Sides

In the election for President of the United States, the Electoral College is the body whose members vote to elect the President directly. Each state sends a number of delegates equal to its total number of representatives and senators in Congress; all but two states (Nebraska and Maine) assign electors pledged to the candidate that wins the state’s plurality vote. We investigate the effect on presidential elections if states were to assign their electoral votes according to results in each congressional district,and conclude that the direct popular vote and the current electoral college are both substantially fairer compared to those alternatives where states would have divided their electoral votes by congressional district.

From a new paper by A.C. Thomas, our own Andrew Gelman, Gary King, and Jonathan Katz.  An ungated version is here.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University.