Back to top

Archived Content

By Constitutional Design: The Electoral College

The Electoral College | Hoover Archiveses

The Hoover Institution Library & Archives houses many collections related to the American Electoral College and movements for its reform. Founded in 1919 by Herbert Hoover, the Library & Archives is among the world’s most important repositories for unique archival materials and rare publications on political, social, and economic change in the modern era. 

The Hoover Archives specializes primarily in unpublished materials (personal papers, sound recordings, posters, etc.). With nearly one million volumes and more than six thousand archival collections from 171 countries, Hoover supports a vibrant community of scholars and a broad public interested in the meaning and role of history. Retrieval requests should be placed in advance through an Aeon account with a scheduled date of use. Users are encouraged to submit requests at least two days in advance, as not all materials are immediately available. Users may check their Aeon account to find out when materials are available and on hold for use. 

Paul N. McCloskey Papers

The Paul N. McCloskey papers consist of the congressional records maintained by Paul (Pete) McCloskey’s staff at his Washington, DC, office and California district office while McCloskey was a member of the US House of Representatives, from 1967 to 1983. The papers relate to many aspects of American foreign relations and domestic politics, including the 1972 presidential election and Electoral College reform. Digital copies of select records are available. 

Thomas A. Lane Papers

A major general in the US Army and a conservative columnist, lecturer, and author, Thomas A. Lane published commentary on American foreign and military policy, the Vietnam War, religious political issues, communism, and the activities of Americans for Constitutional Action and other conservative and anticommunist organizations from 1947 to 1976. His collection includes speeches, writings, correspondence, and notes on issues related to Electoral College reform. 

S. I. Hayakawa Papers

A US senator from California from 1977 to 1983, S. I. Hayakawa influenced American foreign relations and domestic policy throughout his long career in politics. His papers include administrative and legislative files on elections and election reform.

The History of the Electoral College

Stanford professor Jack Rakove speaks about the election of the president of the United States. He begins by analyzing Colorado Amendment 36, a question of whether Colorado should divide its electoral votes or continue with its winner-takes-all system. Rakove then looks at the history of the Electoral College itself and talks about alternatives the founding fathers considered: popular election and election by Congress. 

Should Elections Go Back to the People?

This talk by US senator Birch Bayh addresses the growing cynicism toward government felt by the people of the United States in the 1970s. In it, Bayh expresses his belief that by changing the presidential election process from the Electoral College system to direct popular vote there would be a positive change in attitude toward the American political system. He also addresses the idea of dropping the minimum-age requirement for voting.