The Constitution2020 Election Sparks

2020 Elections & The Constitution: The Popular Vote

Posted on in The Constitution · 2020 Election Sparks

The 2020 election saw attempts by the Trump campaign to convince state legislative leaders to overturn the results of the popular vote in that state. This happened because of the electoral college. The Constitution grants state legislatures the power to decide how their electors will be selected. While each state has decided its electors will be selected by popular vote, one unanswered question is if state legislatures could decide to overturn the will of the voters and select their own slate of electors. The 2020 election made people think about how electors are selected and whether the popular vote must be respected.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “The Constitution"

Links

“Who Are the Electors and How Do They Get Picked”
https://www.npr.org/sections/biden-transition-updates/2020/12/14/946080856/who-are-electors-and-how-do-they-get-picked

“How PA Chooses Electoral College Voters and Who Are the 20 Pledged Pick Joe Biden”
https://www.timesonline.com/story/news/2020/11/11/electoral-college-electors-pennsyslvania-election-popular-vote-results-joe-biden/6253260002/

“Who Chooses Electoral College Voters and Can They Break with a State’s Popular Vote?”
https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article247011087.html

“Could State Legislatures Pick Electors to Vote for Trump? Not Likely”
https://www.nytimes.com/article/electors-vote.html

“Fact Check: State Legislatures Choose Electors, but Electors Vote How State Dictates”
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/11/10/fact-check-state-legislators-choose-electors/6204171002/

“Trump’s Scheme for State Legislatures to Overturn the Election Won’t Work”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/11/20/trump-state-legislatures-election/

Assessment

  • Debate: Should the United States still use the electoral college or should the winner of the presidency be decided by the popular vote?
  • Does the Constitution allow states to appoint electors after the election?
  • Poll: Should states be allowed to punish electors that do not vote for the winner of the state?  
  • Short Answer: How did the Founders think the Electoral College would actually work?

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