WASHINGTON — Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) has introduced an amendment that would eliminate the Electoral College from the U.S. Constitution.
Cohen is Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice, the subcommittee with jurisdiction over all proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The move comes a day before Congress certifies the results of the Electoral College.
“For the second time in recent memory, and for the fifth time in our history, the national popular vote winner – including Tennesseans Al Gore and Andrew Jackson — will not become President of the United States because of the Electoral College,” said Congressman Cohen. “The Electoral College is an antiquated system that was established to prevent citizens from directly electing our nation’s President, yet that notion is antithetical to our understanding of democracy. In our country, ‘We the People’ are supposed to determine who represents us in elective office.”
President-elect Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote, but Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.
Today, there are 538 electors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The number of electors from each state is equal to the number of congressional seats the state has in the House and Senate. The District of Columbia was granted three electors by the 23rd Amendment, the minimum number.
The people who make up the Electoral College are usually comprised of state party officials and generally chosen at the party’s state conventions.
Each party with a candidate on the presidential ballot puts forth a slate of electors.
All but two states traditionally award the entire slate of electors to the candidate that receives a majority or plurality of votes.
(The two states that do not follow this model, Maine and Nebraska, award two electoral votes to the candidate who wins the popular vote and then candidates receive another vote for each congressional district they win.)
Some states require their electors to vote for the candidate who receives the most votes, but even in states where it is not required, Electoral College members rarely depart from the will of the people. The candidate who receives at least 270 Electoral College votes becomes the next president.