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The Electoral College: 2008 Debate

Posted on April 14, 2008

Should the Electoral College be abolished? Is the design still necessary? Or, 180 years after Andrew Jackson ushered in America’s Democratic era, is the system an anachronism of an earlier age?

Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies is sponsoring "The Electoral College: 2008 Debate, A Design of Necessity or an Anachronism?" The debate, featuring Gary Gregg and Burdett Loomis, will take place Thursday, April 24, at 7:30 p.m., in Loosemore Auditorium on Grand Valley’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

“It surprises many Americans to learn that they do not directly elect the president of the United States,” said Gleaves Whitney, director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies. “A bigger surprise is that our Constitution does not even assume that right. What citizens in their states do is vote for electors in the Electoral College, and they technically choose the president. Every four years we Americans debate whether the Electoral College still works, so we are happy to bring in two of the nation’s leading experts on the issue.”

Gary Gregg II will argue in favor of the Electoral College. Gregg is the Mitch McConnell chair in leadership at the University of Louisville, where he is also director of the McConnell Center for Political Leadership. He is the author or editor of five books, including The Presidential Republic: Executive Representation and Deliberative Democracy (1996), Vital Remnants: America’s Founding and the Western Tradition (1999), and Securing Democracy: Why We Have an Electoral College (2001).

Burdett Loomis will argue against the Electoral College. Burdett is a professor of political science at the University of Kansas and former director of the Robert J. Dole Institute for Public Service and Public Policy. He is author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Choosing a President: The Electoral College and Beyond (2002), Republic on Trial: The Case for Representative Democracy (2002), and The First Shots of the Culture Wars: Politics, Institution, and Change (forthcoming).

For more information, contact the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at (616) 331-2770.

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