Capital Commentary is the weekly current-affairs publication of CPJ, written to encourage the pursuit of public justice.

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This Week’s Capital Commentary

Jesse Covington

Article Summary: 

The Electoral College has been the subject of a number of critiques over the years, with public interest in the system coming in waves, depending on the election season. Critics of the Electoral College system are concerned with questions of justice, especially voter equality. Given the systematic violations of voter equality that have occurred in the United States, particularly on the basis of race, this question should never be absent from our assessments of electoral law. Many Americans favor amending the Constitution to make presidential elections a matter of a national popular vote.

Given these concerns, what are we to make of the Electoral College system? Is  it worthwhile? Is it just?

In this article, Jesse Covington explains the principles behind the design of the Electoral College and explores the current critiques and attempted reforms. He argues that the current system is itself deeply concerned with justice, but justice construed in broader terms than rigid equality of individual voters. The Electoral College maintains a concern for states as communities of interest, particularly less populous states with a significant proportion of rural communities, magnifying voices that might otherwise be easily disregarded. Covington demonstrates that the structure of the Electoral College, like most of our politics, reflects a set of prudential judgments made by the framers of the Constitution in balancing competing goods.

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Capital Commentary Archive

Title
Author
Publication Date
Topic

Publication DateTitleAuthors(s)
05-02-2016The Electoral College: Balancing Competing GoodsJesse Covington
04-25-2016Climate Change: What Can Civil Society Do About It?Rusty Pritchard
04-18-2016Primary TimeCarol Veldman Rudie
04-11-2016Public Service: Call and ResponseStephanie Summers
04-04-2016Religious Freedom: One Notion Under God, IndivisiblePaul S. Rowe
03-28-2016Resurrection PowerWilliam Edgar
03-21-2016Why Christians Should Care About Religious Freedom for MuslimsChelsea Langston
03-14-2016A Just Response to Drug AddictionMichelle Crotwell Kirtley
03-07-2016Christians, the Election, and Foreign PolicySteven E. Meyer
02-29-2016Reforming Crime and Punishment Policies the Right WayJennifer E. Walsh