The Electoral College 101 (with a little bit of 201 thrown in for good measure)
By requiring presidential aspirants to achieve a majority of electoral votes awarded by states, the founders believed, they would force candidates to amass a broad coalition and thus stitch together the young nation.
The Electoral College system was part of the U.S. Constitution that took effect in 1789. However, in 1887, Congress passed the Electoral Vote Count Act which grants unto the states authority to determine choice of their electors.
Consequently, now each state has the right to allocate its own electoral votes, so no federal constitutional amendment is required for any single state to change its system.
In 1950 the Senate approved a "proportional vote" plan to divide state electors on basis of popular vote, but the House kills it.
In 1969 the House approved a constitutional amendment to scrap the Electoral College altogether in favor of direct popular election of presidents. The Senate later killed this initiative.
That same year, 1969, Maine replaced its winner-take-all system, and moved to awarding electoral votes to winner of each congressional district.
In 1992 Nebraska followed Maine in moving to award electoral votes by congressional district.
This November 2, Coloradans will vote whether to award electoral votes on the basis of popular vote, with the vote to be effective this year for the 2004 election.
The pros and cons of any change -- as well as the way changes might be done as shown by the differences in the Maine/Nebraska vs. Colorodo proposal -- will be discussed in a future post. You got it -- as in the Electoral College 301.
In an 8-31-04 post we briefly discussed Georgia's county-unit system, noting it was somewhat akin to the electoral college on the federal scene, but with significant differences.
And as far as a future post being Electoral College 301? Hardly. I am out of my area of expertise here, and maybe others can help us. As I noted in the above-noted 8-31-04 post:
"[A]ll I know about [the Electoral College] is what I learned in college while minoring in political science and watching it every four years. Thus I am not an expert in the subject to say the least."