Provide for direct voting for
President and Vice President.
(4) Retain the electoral voting
strength of each state as at present,
one vote for each member of Congress, but provide that such electoral
vote be divided in exact ratio with
the popular vote.
(5) Provide that the winning candidate must receive at least 40 per
cent of the electoral vote, failing in
which the Congress would select the
President or Vice President from the
two highest numbers of electoral
Arguments for the
Proponents of tbe Daniel-Kefauver
amendment claim that by abolishing
the electoral college they will abolish
an archaic and undemocratic method
that not only is not helpful, but contains potential harmful elements, such
as allowing electors to depart from a
pledged vote. Most of the defects of
the electoral college have already
The Senate Committee Report that
was to accompany S. J. Res. 31 to the
floor stated also that because this proposed constitutional amendment provides for the automatic division of a
state's electoral votes on the basis of
the popular vote, all the evils inherent
in the unit rule method of counting
electoral votes are either wholly eliminated or greatly minimized, The
counting procedure would be legally
uniform in all the states.
The possibility that a President
might be elected in spite of the fact
that he polled fewer popular votes
than his opponent would be virtually
eliminated for the simple reason that
the new system would bring the electoral vote and the popular vote much
This plan is supposed to reduce substantially the influence that pressure
groups or "splinter" factions exercise
in the large pivotal states and the big
cities by swinging large blocks of electoral votes. In 1948, for example, the
Wallace vote, though meager in comparison vv ith the total vote, threw two
states to Thomas Dewey. Small groups
in the large pivotal states, under the
present system, hold an enormous bargaining power because they may add
enough votes to either party, or withhold enough votes from either partv,
to swing 47 electoral votes in New
York or 35 electoral votes in Pennsylvania. Former Representative Edward
Gossett of Texas explains further:
Senator Price Daniel ID-Texasi authored an
amendment for electoral reform using the proportional system of counting electoral votes.
Later he cosponsored a compromise bill with
Senator Mundt which has gone back to committee for reconsideration.
Now, under tin present system, it is
generally conceded that you have got to
tarry a number of the pivotal states. Ilnw
(let you clci lli.it? Yen don't appeal to those
who lire normally Republican or normally
Democratic. If yon can go out ancl appeal
to the prejudice or selfishness of some particular group and get the votes of that
group e asse, von have won.7
Under the proportional plan, however,
no minority group would be any
stronger than the number of votes
actually cast for it, and these would
be east on the basis of merit rather
than on bargaining power.
Also from tbe Senate Committee
Presidential campaigns, campaign effort,
and campaign funds would no longer be
almost exclusively concentrated in the big
pivotal doubtful states, to the exclusion of
the smaller populated states or sure states.
This method of making every vote for
President count would tend to spread the
campaign and any subsequent presidential
activity into all the 48 states. . . ,
It would discourage the prevailing tendency to nominate presidential candidates
only from among the residents of those
states having a large electoral vote. The
danger and detriment to the general wel-
lare is obvious when the field ol presidential possibilities is so restricted. The whole
nation should he the field from which to
The arguments given thus far in
lav or of the Daniel-Kefauver amend-
(Senate Committee Report, op. cit , p. 118.
""Should Ihe 'Proportional' Electoral Method
Adopted?" op. cit., p. 110.
ment are so-called corrective measures, designed to remedy evils in the
present system. Aside from these,
there are three additional advantages
(1) By effecting a compromise between the existing system and the idea
of a direct popular election, the
amendment would completely preserve and protect the rights of the
small states. No state is given any
greater power in electing a President
than it has in passing a bill through
Congress, and by retaining the distribution of electoral votes on the basis
of each state's number of congressmen,
representatives and senators, this
power is in no way diminished.
(2) The proposed system of dividing each state's electoral vote in proportion to its popular vote offers a far
more accurate and equitable method
of reflecting popular sentiment within
that state. Under the present system,
without popular vote totals, it won''
be completely impossible to tefl
whether a state bad voted overwhelmingly in favor of the successful candi'
(Kite or whether he had gained all l'J
the electoral votes in a "photo finish
Considered from this point of view
this proposed new system enhances •'
state's vote in presidential politics b^
cause it reflects more accurately "i
popular will in the state.
By this same token, the illusion tha
a relatively close election is a "Ian"'
slide victory" on a national scale, aij^
a crushing defeat for the loser, wot"
(3) Supporters of this proposed &
form believe also that its incorporati'"
into the Constitution would greatly i*1'
vigorate the two-party system in 1"
United States, therefore breaking l'1'
so-called solid or one-party areas.
Arguments Against the
Most of those who oppose the 1"^
portional plan of electoral rc^or<J
agree that the electoral college shou
be abolished, and perhaps agree tjfl
the unit rule as now employed is "
just and needs changing. But tn j
have grave doubts as to the workaP*
ity and advisability of counting stJ
electoral votes in direct proportion
a popular vote within the state.
One major objection is to the *
quirement that a candidate receive"
simple plurality of electoral votes '
stead of a majority.
The fathers of this country took SP*°J
care to see that a person elected as Pr**j
deal attained a clear majority of the "''
Facts Forum News, August, ™