The Electoral College: Is Reform Needed?

WED, DEC 16, 2020 (1:27:05)

As we move past the contentious 2020 election, one particular question has surfaced once again this election cycle: Is the way we elect the President in this country still working? The electoral college – our nation’s complicated method of electing presidents – has been under fire since its inception more than 200 years ago.

The system allows one candidate to win the popular vote but another to win the electoral vote and thus the Presidency. Four candidates in U.S. history have won the popular vote but not the Presidency as they did not secure enough votes in the Electoral College. Join us for a closer look at the roles race, politics, and geography have played in the electoral college and explore if reform is needed or not.

Panelists representing varying perspectives on voting and the electoral college include Amel Ahmed, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst and Erin Geiger Smith, journalist and author of the book “Thank you for Voting.” Jesse Wegman, a member of the New York Times editorial board, will moderate the discussion.

Presented by JCC Greater Boston as the latest in their Jonathan Samen Hot Buttons, Cool Conversations discussion series and co-produced with GBH Forum Network .

+ BIO: ​Erin Geiger Smith

Erin Geiger Smith is a freelance reporter for publications including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. She is the author of the book, “Thank you for Voting”. Previously, she worked at Reuters and Business Insider covering legal news. She graduated from Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism, The University of Texas School of Law, and the University of Texas at Austin.

+ BIO: Amel Ahmed

Professor Amel Ahmed is the Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her main area of specialization is democratic studies, with a special interest in elections and voting systems. She is author of “Democracy and the Politics of Electoral System Choice: Engineering Electoral Dominance”.

+ BIO: Jesse Wegman

Jesse Wegman is a member of the New York Times editorial board, where he has written about the Supreme Court and legal affairs since 2013. His book “Let The People Pick The President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College” was published in March by St. Martin’s Press.

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