Understanding the Fundamentals of the U.S. Presidential Election System

  • Alexander S. Belenky

About this book

Introduction

This is the first book on the U.S. presidential election system to analyze the basic principles underlying the design of the existing system and those at the heart of competing proposals for improving the system. The book discusses how the use of some election rules embedded in the U.S. Constitution and in the Presidential Succession Act may cause skewed or weird election outcomes and election stalemates. The book argues that the act may not cover some rare though possible situations which the Twentieth Amendment authorizes Congress to address. Also, the book questions the constitutionality of the National Popular Vote Plan to introduce a direct popular presidential election de facto, without amending the Constitution, and addresses the plan’s “Achilles’ Heel.”  In particular, the book shows that the plan may violate the Equal Protection Clause from the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution. Numerical examples are provided to show that the counterintuitive claims of the NPV originators and proponents that the plan will encourage presidential candidates to “chase” every vote in every state do not have any grounds. Finally, the book proposes a plan for improving the election system by combining at the national level the “one state, one vote” principle – embedded in the Constitution – and the “one person, one vote” principle. Under this plan no state loses its current Electoral College benefits while all the states gain more attention of presidential candidates.

Keywords

The Electoral College The National Popular Vote Plan The Presidential Succession Act The Twelfth Amendment the "winner-take-all" principle

Authors and affiliations

  • Alexander S. Belenky
    • 1
  1. 1., Center for Engineering Systems FundamentMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-23819-2
  • Copyright Information Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012
  • Publisher Name Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
  • eBook Packages Humanities, Social Sciences and Law
  • Print ISBN 978-3-642-23818-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-642-23819-2
  • About this book