What role does the “federalism bonus” play in presidential selection?

Randall E. Adkins, Kent A. Kirwan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The conflicting outcome of the electoral and popular votes in the 2000 presidential election provoked calls to abolish or alter the electoral college. One prominent criticism is that the institution distorts election outcomes by providing disproportionate influence to small states. If each state receives a number of presidential electors equal to that states’ number of members in the U.S. House of Representatives plus the two senators, then the “federalism bonus” represents the two electoral college votes that correspond to the position of each state as an equal entity in the Senate. This research examines how the “federalism bonus” influences presidential selection by addressing three questions. First, why did the framers include a federal component in the electoral college? Second, under what circumstances has the “federalism bonus” played a role in presidential selection? Third, how would the various alternatives for reform affect the federal component of the electoral college, and what is the likelihood of adoption for each?

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-90
Number of pages20
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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