Honors Theses


Christopher Devine, Ph.D., & David Watkins, Ph.D.


Political Science

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Honors Thesis


Though a key institution in the United States presidential election, the Electoral College has often been overlooked for close theoretical analysis and even less frequently dissected for a deeper understanding of its consistency with theories of representative democracy. As such, this presentation summarizes a study of the Electoral College through a theoretical perspective to ultimately investigate the degree to which it is democratically representative. The first section of this thesis analyzes the Electoral College through both a historical and a modern contextual lens. The second section explores various theories of representation, highlighting the works of Pitkin, Rehfeld, and Manin. The third section scrutinizes the Electoral College’s representative nature through the concepts, theories, and principles of these theorists. Finally, the fourth section brings the representative nature of the Electoral College in conversation with ideals of democracy, proposing a framework for evaluating representation in democratic institutions while making the case that the Electoral College, in its current form, lacks critical aspects of democratic representation.

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This item is protected by copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) and may only be used for noncommercial, educational, and scholarly purposes.


Undergraduate research