The Brennan Center for Justice
Wilfred U. Codrington
Brooklyn Law School
The Hoover Institution
James S. Fishkin
The Center for Deliberative Democracy
Making Every Vote Count
Election Reformers Network
The Cato Institute
Derek T. Muller
Iowa College of Law
University of Minnesota Law School
National Popular Vote
The Center for Deliberative Democracy
Norman R. Williams
Willamette University College of Law
In order for our deliberation to be fact-based and balanced, we have organized an bipartisan advisory board of experts for and against the proposals. They lend their expertise to ensure that our briefing materials are fair, accurate, and comprehensive.
The Advisory Board
In the United States, we elect our president through the Electoral College. This system has governed presidential elections for our nation’s entire history and, for much of that history, it has been the subject of political controversy.
DELIBERATIONS.US: The Electoral College is an hour-long deliberation on three proposals for reforming the way we elect presidents.
You’ll be a part of an hour-long discussion on a specially designed video chat app. On this platform, you’ll be assigned to a small, diverse group of fellow Americans. In this group, you’ll learn how the Electoral College works, three of the proposals for changing it, and the arguments for and against those proposals — arguments approved by our bipartisan advisory board of experts.
2. Before the deliberation, you'll complete a survey, sharing some information about your demographics, politics, and views on the proposals (Why do we collect your data?)
3. At the end of the survey, you'll review our fact-based and balanced briefing materials, which have been approved by an expert, bipartisan advisory board.
4. When the deliberation is scheduled to begin, you'll log onto the platform where you'll be sorted into a small discussion group optimized for political and geographic diversity. The platform will then guide you and your fellow Americans through the deliberation.
5. After the deliberation, you'll complete the survey again, sharing what you think of the proposals after you've discussed them (Why do we collect your data?).
A national popular vote, in which the presidential candidate that receives the most votes nationwide wins, is the most well-known proposal for changing the Electoral College. It was first proposed as an alternative way to elect presidents during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Since the 1960s, a national popular vote has been the most well-known proposal for changing the Electoral College.
Fractional proportional allocation of electoral votes is a theoretical alternative to the winner-take-all system used by 48 states. In winner-take-all, all of a state’s electoral votes goes to the candidate that gets the most votes in that state. With fractional proportional, each of the top two candidates in a state receive a share of the state’s electoral votes, in proportion to the share of popular votes they receive.
Over the past two decades, ranked-choice voting has gained traction in local, state, and federal electoral systems. In 2020, four states used RCV in some of their presidential primaries and two states—Maine and Alaska—now use it during presidential general elections. Ranked-choice voting augments a national popular vote, fractional proportional, or winner-take-all.
Deliberation for Education
Our deliberations are designed to be integrated into both high school and university-level courses in civics, government, and history. The discussions and briefing materials cover policy proposals, historical context, and pro/con arguments concisely and accessibly for students in high school* and beyond.
Educators should assign the pre-deliberation survey, which includes the briefing videos and booklet, and post-deliberation survey to be completed as homework. The one-hour deliberation can be completed inside or outside of class.
For assistance integrating our deliberations into your classroom, reach out to us at email@example.com or (202) 455-6309.
*For privacy reasons, those under the age of 13 cannot participate.