“Ramshackle Federalism: America’s Archaic and Dysfunctional Presidential Election System”

Tony Gaughan has posted this draft on SSRN (Fordham Law Review).  Here is the abstract:

Although the presidency is the most powerful public office in the United States, the federal government plays a modest role in presidential elections. Reflecting the nation’s foundation on federalist principles, federal involvement in the presidential election system is largely limited to protecting voting rights and regulating campaign contributions. The extremely decentralized nature of the American presidential election system may reflect the triumph of federalism, but it is a shambolic and ramshackle version of federalism. The uncomfortable truth is the United States relies on an archaic and dysfunctional process for electing the most powerful leader in the world.

We can and must do better. Accordingly, this Article proposes five sensible and achievable reforms to modernize the presidential election system. Each requires Congress and the federal government to play a much more proactive role in the presidential election system. The Constitution may be founded on federalist principles, but excessive decentralization is not serving us well in presidential election administration. In an age of tumultuous and accelerating change, the presidential election system must be modernized to meet the needs of twenty-first century America.


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