The wild 2016 presidential election and its aftermath refocused attention on the Electoral College method of choosing presidents the United States has used since the 18th century. No other part of the U. S. Constitution has been the subject of as many proposals for reform or removal as the Electoral College has, and unofficially it confuses more people than any other Constitutional element, too. University of Maine political science professor Jim Melcher will shed light on the Electoral College with a special focus on Maine's role. Among the questions Dr. Melcher will address are:
- Why do we have the Electoral College, and how does it work?
- Why, and how, does Maine deal differently with it than most states do?
- How has Maine's presidential vote changed over time?
- Is Maine's "district plan" method of picking presidential electors a good model for other states and the nation? What will happen and should happen to the Electoral College?
The talk is free and open to the public.
Jim Melcher is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine at Farmington.
Jim Melcher was born and raised in Madison, WI, one of America’s most politically active cities. His undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Geography are a reflection of his strong interest in the interactions between American politics, geography and history. He went on to write his doctoral dissertation on state political parties at the University of Minnesota, and was the last doctoral student of legendary parties scholar Frank Sorauf. He’s taught at UMF since 1999 and teaches a wide range of courses on American politics, government and political thought. He also serves as pre-law adviser. He has become known throughout the University of Maine system for his work on the Maine Public Policy Scholars program, and has become a frequent “voice of the University” in his numerous interviews as a political expert with media both within and outside Maine. He has presented papers and served on panels at numerous national and regional political science conventions, published in multiple political science journals, and is the author of a chapter in the book Electoral College Reform on Maine and Nebraska's use of the district plan for elector selection. Copies of this chapter are available at the library or can be downloaded here. Jim and his wife Nancy Finnegan live in Augusta, ME.