On the surface, casting a ballot for president on Election Day appears to be the definitive action in the process of electing our nation’s executive. However, there is a lot going on behind-the-scenes. The Electoral College sits at the center of our federal election system, and while it is one of the more difficult institutions to understand in the U.S. Constitution, it serves a vitally important role. It is the Electoral College, not a national popular vote, that selects our executive. The College has served this function since the country’s founding.
Have students watch The Electoral College and answer the following questions.
- In your own words, describe the process of how the Electoral College selects our president and vice-president.
- Why did the Founders create the Electoral College?
- What are some arguments used for why the Electoral College should continue to be used?
- What are some arguments used for why the Electoral College should be abolished?
- Of the two above arguments, which do you agree with more? Why?
Next, have students read About the Electors and answer the following questions.
- Describe in your own words the role of political parties in selecting electors.
- Describe in your own words the role of voters in selecting electors.
- What restrictions exist concerning who electors may vote for?
- In the case of Chiafalo v. Washington (2020), the Supreme Court ruled that it is constitutional for states to place restrictions on who electors can vote for. Do you agree with this decision? Why or why not?
Use Faithless Electors Could Decide the Tight 2020 Election to lead a class discussion on the topic of faithless electors, and whether they are a valid expression of free expression on behalf of the elector, or a violation of democracy.
The Electoral College and Popular Vote for the President
With the outcome of last week’s election, many Americans are questioning the history and validity of the electoral college. This lesson will help you think through the critical issues surrounding the structure and foundational philosophy of the Electoral college with your students.
Appraising the Electoral College
How does the Electoral College work and why did the framers decide this was the best way to elect the country’s chief executive? This lesson explores these fundamental questions and asks students to debate pros and cons of keeping the Electoral College.
The Electoral College is the system used by the United States to elect its lead executive. The College is outlined in Article II, Section 1 and in the Twelfth and Twenty-Third Amendments to the United States Constitution.
The Electoral College | Homework Help from the Bill of Rights Institute
In this Homework Help narrative, learn about the origins and functions of the Electoral College. This constitutional institution has long been the subject of intense debate and scrutiny, and this video challenges students to think about it for themselves.
Faithless Electors: Chiafalo v. Washington
The Electoral College is one of the more difficult institutions to understand in the U.S. Constitution, but it serves a vitally important role. The Electoral College, not a national popular vote, selects our executive. The College has served this function since the country’s founding.