Debate Defends Democracy: Democracy & The Electoral College


“Democracy and the Electoral College” is the third program in our October series of DEBATE DEFENDS DEMOCRACY. Moderator, CNN Senior Political Analyst, John Avlon, will be joined by: Amel Ahmed, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Wilfred Codrington, NYU Brennan Center Fellow and Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School; and Jesse Wegman, New York Times Columnist.

Twice in this century the winner of the popular vote has not become president due to the role of the Electoral College as defined by in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution. Some believe the Electoral College is an essential bedrock of our republic, apportioning power more equitably by state. Proposals to abolish the Electoral College however, have also gotten considerable attention in recent years. This could be accomplished legislatively through a Constitutional amendment. An alternative method has also been proposed —the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which could render the Electoral College system obsolete.

Questions the conversation considers are: Whose voices does the Electoral College elevate, and whose does it diminish? To what extent did racial animus drive the creation of the Electoral College? In a politically-polarized nation, how likely is it that future presidential elections may be decided by the popular vote alone?

DEBATE DEFENDS DEMOCRACY is presented by the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy at Federal Hall in partnership with New York University and the National Park Service. “Democracy and the Electoral College” is also presented in partnership with the NYU Brennan Center for Justice.

For more details on DEBATE DEFENDS DEMOCRACY, and to see video of past programs, visit

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