Author Archive

George C. Edwards III

George C. Edwards III is the Winant Professor of American Government at Oxford and University Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University.

Many people know that it is electors in the electoral college that actually elect the president, not citizens voting on election day. They also may know that this system allows the candidate coming in second to win the election, as occurred in 2000, and thus violates the democratic norm of equality in voting. But more puzzling (and less reliable) are the arguments made on behalf of the electoral college. Here are four of the most common — and why they are wrong. 1. The electoral college protects the interests of small states The core justification is that it balances local and national interests, protecting small states from majority rule. Yet states with small populations do not have common interests to protect and …