In-depth coverage of the candidates and the issues, all leading up to the Aug. 5 primary and the Nov. 4 general election.
A presidential voting process developed by the country's Founding Fathers has long spurred dissent and apathy among voters.
The Electoral College is a process in which the general public casts votes for an electorate that promises to in turn vote for a favored candidate. Electoral votes are apportioned among states, and it is possible to win the popular vote but lose the election.
Critics say the Electoral College is an undemocratic process and that every person's vote should count.
The mechanics, alternatives and obstacles to creating alternatives to the process were discussed by a three-person panel in "Constitution Day: The Historical, Political and Constitutional Aspects of the Electoral College," at the Dole Institute of Politics. The event, which attracted about 150 people, was not only part of Constitution Day observances, but also the Dole Institute's fall lecture series dubbed POTUS, The Next President of the United States.
Jonathan Earle, a KU history professor and associate director of the Dole Institute, discussed the background of the Electoral College. Part of its origin was rooted in the fact the Founding Fathers "were terrified of direct elections," he said. "They didn't trust ordinary voters to make the right choice."
In the modern world, "you think you are voting for John McCain; you are actually voting for a slate of electors," Earle said.
Paul Schumaker, KU political science professor, discussed an extensive study he and numerous other political science professors conducted to analyze potential methods to propose instead of the Electoral College. He organized a conference after the 2000 election, when Al Gore won the popular vote but lost to George W. Bush. Alternatives include a popular plurality, district plan, bonus plan and a national compact. Though the Electoral College failed a test of criteria, it was still approved by the professors.
Schumaker said people believe the Electoral College system is legitimate, and will accept it, no matter the result.
Richard Levy, a KU J.B. Smith distinguished professor of law, explained the mechanics of law and the provisions that make it difficult for the Constitution to be amended.
"As much as we might like to change, I'm not sure how we can get there because there is an awful lot of vested interests that are at stake and in play that make it difficult to change," Levy said.
A two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress to propose a constitutional amendment and a ratification of the amendment by three-fourths of the states would be required to make the change.
Getting agreement in Congress and having states be willing to possibly give up their solid Democrat or Republican holdings are among the challenges, according to Levy.