A Majority of Americans Continue to Favor Replacing Electoral College with a Nationwide Popular Vote. Pew Research Center. Andrew Daniller. March 13, 2020.
A majority of U.S. adults (58%) say the Constitution should be amended so the presidential candidate who receives the most votes nationwide wins, while 40% prefer to keep the current system in which the candidate who receives the most Electoral College vote wins the election.
Support for amending the Constitution has increased slightly since the period immediately following the 2016 election. In a November 2016 CNN/ORC survey, roughly half of adults (51%) favored amending the Constitution to eliminate the Electoral College. And in a March 2018 Pew Research Center survey, 55% favored taking this step. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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Voters Need Help: How Party Insiders Can Make Presidential Primaries Safer, Fairer, and More Democratic. Brookings Institution. Raymond J. La Raja and Jonathan Rauch. January 31, 2020
Presidential-nominating contests in both major political parties are at risk of producing nominees who aren’t competent to govern and/or don’t represent a majority of the party’s voters. Raymond La Raja and Jonathan Rauch argue this is a result of the declining role of party insiders in the nomination process and call for the reversal of that trend. Primaries function best, they claim, when voters and party professionals work in partnership. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
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Campaign and Election Security Policy: Overview and Recent Developments for Congress. Congressional Research Service. R. Sam Garrett, Sarah J. Eckman, Karen L. Shanton. January 2, 2020
In the United States, state, territorial, and local governments are responsible for most aspects of selecting and securing election systems and equipment. Foreign interference during the 2016 election cycle—and widely reported to be an ongoing threat—has renewed congressional attention to campaign and election security and raised new questions about the nature and extent of the federal government’s role in this policy area.
This report provides congressional readers with a resource for understanding campaign and election security policy. This includes discussion of the federal government’s roles; state or territorial responsibilities for election administration and election security; an overview of potentially relevant federal statutes and agencies; and highlights of recent congressional policy debates. The report summarizes related legislation that has advanced beyond introduction during the 116th Congress. It also poses questions for consideration as the House and Senate examine whether or how to pursue legislation, oversight, or appropriations.
[PDF format, 42 pages].
Federal Election Commission: Membership and Policymaking Quorum, In Brief. Congressional Research Service. R. Sam Garrett. Updated September 5, 2019
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the nation’s civil
campaign finance regulator. The agency ensures that campaign fundraising and
spending is publicly reported; that those regulated by the Federal Election
Campaign Act (FECA) and by commission regulations comply and have access to
guidance; and that publicly financed presidential campaigns receive
funding. As of August 31, 2019, the
Federal Election Commission is operating without a policymaking quorum. FECA
requires that at least four of six commissioners agree to undertake many of the
agency’s key policymaking duties. As of August 31, 2019, three of six
commissioners remain in office, after the fourth remaining commissioner
resigned. Also as of this writing, one commission nomination is pending in the
Senate. This CRS report briefly explains
the kinds of actions that FECA precludes when a quorum is not possible because
fewer than four FEC members are in office. This episode marks the second quorum
loss in the agency’s history—the first occurred for six months in 2008—leaving
the commission unable to hold hearings, issue rules, and enforce campaign
finance law and regulation. The agency remains open for business with remaining
commissioners and regular staff, but new policy decisions and enforcement
actions cannot be advanced or finalized.
[PDF format, 11 pages].
States of Change: How Demographic Change is Transforming the Republican and Democratic Parties. Brookings Institution. Rob Griffin, William H. Frey, and Ruy Teixeira. July 1, 2019
Demographics are not destiny, but steady and predictable
changes to the electorate play an important role in defining the landscape of
American politics. Most demographic groups have a political lean, so a group
increasing or decreasing in size over time will tend to benefit one party or
type of politics over another. The most well-known example is the growth of the
nonwhite population in the United States, which—since nonwhites tend to lean
heavily Democratic—is typically viewed as tilting the electoral terrain
somewhat toward the Democrats over time as well as increasing the weight of
nonwhite voters within the Democratic Party over time. But other changes are
important, such as the decline of noncollege educated voters, particularly
whites; the aging of the adult population; and the rise of new generations to
replace older ones.
In this report, the authors will explore the effect of these changes on the demographic composition of the electorate and, especially, on the composition of the two major political parties. Reflecting the latter focus, this analysis will not focus on how many individuals from a given demographic group voted or will likely vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in a particular election. Rather, it focuses on how many people who voted or are likely to vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in a particular election belong to a given demographic group. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
[PDF format, 53 pages].
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission: Overview and Selected Issues for Congress. Congressional Research Service. Karen L. Shanton. June 14, 2019
The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) is an
independent federal agency charged with helping improve the administration of
federal elections. It was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002
(HAVA; P.L. 107-252; 116 Stat. 1666; 52 U.S.C. §§20901-21145) and includes a
four-member commission, a professional staff, an inspector general, and three advisory
The EAC—and the legislation that created it—marked a shift
in the federal approach to election administration. Congress had set
requirements for the conduct of elections before HAVA, but HAVA was the first
federal election administration legislation also to back its requirements with
substantial federal support. In addition to setting new types of requirements,
it provided federal funding to help states meet those requirements and
facilitate other improvements to election administration and created a
dedicated federal agency—the EAC—to manage election administration funding and
collect and share election administration information.
[PDF format, 30 pages].
The National Popular Vote (NPV) Initiative: Direct Election of the President by Interstate Compact. Congressional Research Service. Thomas H. Neale, Andrew Nolan. Updated May 9, 2019
The National Popular Vote (NPV) initiative proposes an
agreement among the states, an interstate compact that would effectively
achieve direct popular election of the President and Vice President without a
constitutional amendment. It relies on the Constitution’s grant of authority to
the states in Article II, Section 1 to appoint presidential electors “in such
Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct…. ” Any state that joins the NPV
compact pledges that if the compact comes into effect, its legislature will
award all the state’s electoral votes to the presidential ticket that wins the
most popular votes nationwide, regardless of who wins in that particular state.
The compact would, however, come into effect only if its success has been
assured; that is, only if states controlling a majority of electoral votes (270
or more) join the compact. By early May 2019, 14 states and the District of
Columbia had joined the compact. After early momentum—eight states and the
District of Columbia joined the NPV Compact between 2007 and 2011—the pace of
state accessions slowed through 2018. Since then, four additional states
joined, bringing the total number of electoral votes controlled by NPV member
states to 189. During the same period, legislation to join the compact had been
introduced during the current session in at least one chamber of the
legislature in 14 additional states that control an additional 150 electors.
[PDF format, 32 pages].