"It's an awful thing and should be scrapped," said Jon Earle, KU assistant professor of history and one of five panelists who spoke at the discussion last Thursday evening at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.
"We've fixed many of the imperfections of the Constitution," Earle said, referring to more than two centuries of various amendments to the U.S. Constitution. "But we haven't fixed that wacky Electoral College."
The Electoral College -- which sent George W. Bush to the White House despite a popular vote favoring Al Gore -- was denounced by the panel, which consisted of Earle, political science professors Paul Schumaker and Burdett Loomis, American studies professor David Katzman, and attorney Bob Eye.
"In their heart of hearts, Republicans know they're thieves," Eye said. "They know they stole the election."
The panelists delivered a brief constitutional history lesson, explaining to the crowd of about 50 that the Electoral College was a compromise by the founding fathers, who were searching for a way to select a president.
Later in the discussion, the college's flaws were highlighted, and the panelists offered possible solutions, such as splitting each state's electoral vote into percentages of the vote gained by each candidate, or an instant run-off ballot, which would involve ranking candidates.
Dalyn Cook, KU sophomore and panel coordinator, said she hoped the discussion would motivate people to become more politically active.
"We'd like to move politics out of the esoteric circle and just get people talking about it," she said.
-- Staff writer Kevin Bates can be reached at 832-7187.