The French Election Shows the Risk of Abolishing the Electoral College

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Sturm College of Law


France, Electoral College, Elections, Popular vote


For Americans who support a “popular” vote election along the lines of the French and Russian electoral model, the recent French presidential election provides an illustrative lesson of what inevitably happens under such electoral regimes. The French election virtually jettisoned the two established major parties in an eleven party field in favor of two political mavericks who made it into the “run-off,” thereby insuring a winner without a legislative party to actually enact the reforms both surviving candidates promoted. As one outraged voter noted, the French electorate was presented with two candidates in the final round, each of which was opposed by “80 percent of the electorate.” Millions of disillusioned voters asked: is this really democracy? No wonder that one of the highest vote-getters was the ballot blanc (blank ballot) which received over 660,000 votes.

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