The 1948 and 1968 presidential elections, when third-party strength threatened to deny a majority of the electoral vote to either major party, brought increased pressure for reform in the system of electing the president. Reform is essential to eliminate the danger of unscrupulous use of their power by electors, to assure that a majority candidate with wide national support is not defeated, and to preclude excessive influence of and, hence, the proliferation of splinter parties.
The present move for reform is led by Sen. Birch Bayh (Dem., Indiana). Senator Bayh's proposal would replace the electoral college system with a nationwide vote count, the winner of which (assuming he received at least 40 percent of the vote cast) would be elected. If no one received at least 40 percent of the vote, a second run-off election between the top two candidates would be held. The purpose of the proposal is twofold: first, to remove the anomaly of the electors (an anonymous group that technically elects the president) and to ensure that the candidate receiving the largest number of popular votes always wins. (It is now possible that one candidate can receive a majority of the electoral vote while another candidate receives more popular votes.)
The electoral system consists of four separable features. Change is needed on two of them, but change on the other two would seriously threaten the