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“We Need to Talk About the Electoral College” – Exploring Electoral College Reform in a Conversation with CEO & Professor Elizabeth Cavanagh

Updated: 5 days ago

By Georgia Antonia Lewis

In a recent podcast interview, Elizabeth Cavanagh, CEO and chair of the Making Every Vote Count Foundation (MEVC), discussed the critical importance of electoral reform in the United States as we inch closer to the 2024 general presidential election. The conversation covered various aspects of the current electoral system, the need for reform, and potential avenues for change.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, let's take a moment to appreciate the incredible work of women like Elizabeth Cavanagh. Their dedication to electoral reform is inspiring and reminds us of the positive impact women have on our society. By advocating for fair voting practices and challenging systemic barriers, they are shaping a more equitable future for all. Let's honor their achievements and recognize the valuable contributions women make every day.

Things won't change unless we believe they can be changed.

Elizabeth Cavanagh, CEO/Founder of MEVC

Here's a recap of the invigorating discussion:

The Why of Electoral Reform: Cavanagh emphasized that the current presidential election system disenfranchises a large portion of American voters, particularly those residing in non-swing states. This system leads to a lack of engagement among voters, lowers voter turnout in non-swing states, and fosters a sense of distrust in the electoral process. Additionally, the phenomenon of “wrong winner” elections, where the candidate who wins the popular vote loses in the Electoral College, underscores the urgency for reform.

The MEVC Report: MEVC recently released a comprehensive report titled "Improving Our Electoral College System," which highlights the shortcomings of the current system and evaluates five alternative reforms. These reforms include a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, proportional allocation of electoral votes, the national popular vote interstate compact, expanding the size of the House of Representatives, and implementing ranked-choice voting.

Public Opinion and Bipartisanship: Despite recent instances where Democrats lost in the Electoral College despite winning the popular vote, Cavanagh emphasized that electoral reform is a nonpartisan issue. Public opinion polls consistently show a majority of Americans supporting a shift to a national popular vote for presidential elections. Moreover, historical figures from both political parties have criticized the Electoral College over the years, indicating bipartisan concerns about the current system.

Challenges and Future Outlook: Addressing skepticism about reform's compatibility with constitutional principles, Cavanagh highlighted the flexibility of state-level changes and emphasized the importance of fostering a national conversation on electoral reform. Looking ahead, she expressed hope for broader public engagement and dialogue on the issue, envisioning a future where electoral reform leads to a more equitable and representative electoral process.

Final Thoughts: Cavanagh encouraged listeners to explore MEVC's report and website to learn more about electoral reform efforts and engage in constructive conversations on the topic. She underscored the need for sustained advocacy and collaboration to bring about meaningful change in the electoral system.

In conclusion, Elizabeth Cavanagh's insights shed light on the pressing need for electoral reform in the United States and the importance of collective action to ensure that every vote truly counts in presidential elections.


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