On December 19, 2020, the members of the Electoral College will meet to vote to elect our next president. There are many who are surprised to find out that they do not vote for a particular person for president but actually vote for the electors who cast the vote for president. Here are some resources to help your students learn more about the Electoral College:
- The Law Library’s In Custodia Legis blog published this detailed blog post on the creation of the Electoral College, how it was supposed to work and the problems discovered during the infancy of the United States government. The Law Library maintains a website with information on election laws for the United States, with links to resources on the Electoral College.
- A Century of Lawmaking provides links to the proceedings of the Elections Commission of 1877 as well as links regarding discussions in Congress about the Electoral College.
- Ask students to read Mr. Citizen, Here’s How Little Your Vote Counts from the San Francisco Call, September 29, 1912. Discuss what they feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the Electoral College after reading this article.
- Students can explore the reasons for the Electoral College that Alexander Hamilton offered in the Federalist Papers. Do they agree with his reasoning? Do they think the Electoral College can be improved? Ask them to provide suggestions.
- Explore Congress.gov to find the various bills that have been introduced that have recommended abolishing the Electoral College. What are the reasons given for ending the Electoral College? Do your students agree or disagree?
- Students can compare electoral maps for recent and previous elections to compare how the nation has changed over time and why on occasion the Electoral College and popular vote have not agreed.
Please share your students’ discoveries – or new questions! – in the comments.