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Limitations of the Electoral College

by npcole

Cite as: Dr Nicholas Cole, ‘Limitations of the Electoral College’ in N. P. Cole, Grace Mallon and Kat Howarth, The Creation of the Electoral College, Quill Project at Pembroke College (Oxford, 2016), item 121.


The members of the Convention express considerable dissatisfaction with the proposal for the Electoral College as it stood at this point. Much of their objection has to do with the fact that the Senate was, at this point, to be the deciding forum if no majority emerged from the votes of state electors. Many of these objections would be removed by the final form of the Electoral College, but some more general philosophical objections were made at this point. The detail that the Vice-President did not need a majority vote but the President did, is one of the many ways that the proposal strained logical explanation. There was considerable worry expressed about how electors would act, though few at the Convention seem to have anticipated the organized, national campaign. In fact, such national organization meant that a profusion of candidates regularly frustrating any decisive decision within the Electoral College was not one of the problems that emerged in practice.

Approved for publication