A concise study of the electoral college system, its drawbacks and its informal evolution in American history, along with a pro-and-con critique of the main proposals for reform and a chronicle of the way in which the system was almost constitutionally changed in the '60's. The authors begin with the elections of 1960 (which showed how fraud might swing a few key electoral votes and thus decide the election) and 1968 (which showed how the present system could favor a sectionally based third party -- whereas a nationally based third party, as in 1948, is at a great disadvantage). Earlier contests in which the electoral college was, or easily could have been, crucial are briefly examined. Taking advantage of new methods for measuring the relative influence of states in electing the President, the book concludes that the voters in medium and small-sized states for example are currently less effective, and that the plan of direct elections is the only one that would give all American votes equal weight. Longley and Braun weigh various drawbacks to this plan but find it generally preferable; and, they suggest, after the 1972 elections it might gain enough steam to go the whole legislative route again, this time with success. Full footnotes, preface by Senator Birch Bayh. Will undoubtedly become a major reference on the subject.