Journal of Law and Policy


When the Constitution of the United States went into effect on March 4, 1789, it established a new, hybrid form of government. As such, it created a complex and multifaceted process of electing our nation’s chief executive. Most notably, it granted states the power to choose a slate of presidential electors to debate the qualifications of the candidates selected by the voters. In recent history, however, certain states have established laws that severely limit the ability of presidential electors to exercise their right to vote for the candidates that they believe to be the best choice to sit in the Oval Office. In doing so, the states have essentially transformed the Electoral College from being an independent body of elected representatives, chosen to debate the merits of presidential candidates, into a toothless middleman that serves little to no purpose. This Note explores the original intended function of the Electoral College by reviewing the works of prominent Framers such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Furthermore, it shows how the states, through their own election laws, can restore the integrity and effectiveness of the institution, without the need of amending our founding document.