Saturday, October 10, 2020

Vik Amar on Congress's role in electoral college reform

Jason Mazzone

I have been enjoying the Balkinization symposium on the books by Alexander Keyssar and Jesse Wegman on electoral college reform. I have one small comment in response to Professor Rakove's very interesting essay on the need for constitutional amendment. Readers might be interested to know that my colleague Vik Amar published an essay back in 2011 in the Georgetown Law Journal on the powers of Congress to remedy problems with the design or operation of the National Popular Vote Compact Plan and to put in place federal mechanisms to identify and tally popular sentiment within each state. Among other things, Vik shows that Congress has several powers it can use to require a uniform "presidential preference poll" to be held in every state (and used by the NPVC states) on the same day that congressional elections are held. Vik observes that besides being easier to adopt than a constitutional amendment, such statutory mechanisms have the added advantage of allowing for experimentation and adjustment. Vik's essay, "The Case for Reforming Presidential Elections by Subconstitutional Means: The Electoral College, the National Popular Vote Compact, and Congressional Power," is here for readers with Hein access and here in draft form at SSRN.

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