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The National Education already own network presents a law in the news with Professor Joseph R. Julan associate dean of the University of Michigan Law School as the electors ballots are sent to Washington. It's a season for urging revision of the way in which we elect our president. You see we've had a near miss but I mean of course is that the election could have been thrown into the House of Representatives without much change in the popular vote. Then two at least one elector or has announced he will not vote for the candidate under whose banner he ran. It's also a time in our system of politics for one man one vote. So what's this Electoral College method of choosing a president doing in the 20th century anyway. It's a direct nationwide popular vote we should be after an electoral process now are urged by the American Bar Association by Senator Birch by Chairman of the Subcommittee on constitutional amendments of the Senate Committee on the judiciary and even by the bar association of the city of New York. Why recently the New York Times reported a Gallup poll showing 66 percent of the nation supports such an
amendment to the Constitution. But before you conclude yes that's for me perhaps you should become familiar with a superb study of the problem recently published in the Michigan Law Review. It's in title the Constitution Congress and presidential elections. The author Columbia professor of law Albert Jay Rosenthal his conclusion is one which seems to cut across the grain of public sentiment. He says that while changes in the present method of electing our presidents are urgently needed an amendment providing for direct popular election is neither the only nor the best solution. This conclusion while directed to the direct popular election proposal as such parallels President Kennedy's sentiments voiced in the course of a nine hundred fifty six Senate debate. Then he said it is not only the unit vote for the presidency we are talking about but I whole solar system governmental power. The late president warned that if it is proposed to change the balance of power of one of the elements of the solar system
it is necessary to consider all the others. Professor Rosenthal study it for this purpose in large measure relying on what is described as a brilliant mathematical analysis by Johnny Benz half the third answers this question whose vote really counts for more. And the answer is somewhat surprising. One might assume that since the Electoral College provides each state without regard to population with two electoral votes this equivalent to two senators and one vote for each representative. Let the vote of say each Alaskan being one for each seventy five thousand inhabitants is worth more than each Californian's ballot for president. In California you see there is one electoral vote for roughly each 400000 inhabitants but that's not so dense half and Rosenthal conclude right well on Rosenthal's own words. In effect the voters in a state may be compared to participants in a caucus each of whom
agrees to cast his vote in accordance with the decision of the majority. Each member of the caucus thereby gains potential power in the larger number of participants in the caucus. The greater the power. Frankly I had always assume the smaller states were advantaged by the elector Sen. parallel but as Rosenthal points out the caucus power factor outweighs the electoral vote population ratio of the smaller states. The bands have study can calculate say voter in California or New York has almost three times the chance of affecting the final result of a presidential contest as the voter in Alaska. But assuming this mathematical analysis to be sound a conclusion which suggests the president as a political entity will be more responsive to the voter most likely to have the greater influence is the direct election proposal prejudiced there by Professor Rosenthal thinks so. He points out that prominent under
representation in the Senate is frozen into our system. Each voter in Alaska counts 74 times as much as each new yorker in the composition of the United States Senate a fact that is hardly over balanced by whatever advantage the New Yorker has in his caucus role which in turn is based upon the Electoral College concept. The Rosenthal study appearing in the November 1968 issue of the Michigan law review should be of great interest to anyone who is really concerned about the presidency and the Electoral College system. It deals directly with the three major criticisms of the undemocratic Electoral College. It was being that the popular choice for president can be defeated that the contingent election procedure is a poor one at best and the inherent weakness in the whole process which permits an elector to flaunt the voter's mandate. A reading clearly demonstrates that the presidency is but a part of a complex solar system of governmental power.
PROFESSOR JOSEPH R. Julan associate dean of the University of Michigan Law School as presented law in the news recorded by the University of Michigan broadcasting services. This is the national educational radio network.
Law in the news
Presidential elections and the law
Producing Organization
University of Michigan
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In program number 393, Joseph R. Julin discusses presidential elections and the law.
Series Description
This series focuses on current news stories that relate to the law.
Broadcast Date
Public Affairs
Politics and Government
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Producing Organization: University of Michigan
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Speaker: Julin, Joseph R.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 61-35a-393 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:05:32
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Chicago: “Law in the news; Presidential elections and the law,” 1969-01-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 9, 2023,
MLA: “Law in the news; Presidential elections and the law.” 1969-01-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 9, 2023. <>.
APA: Law in the news; Presidential elections and the law. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from