Posted December 31st, 2019
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Author’s Note, June 7, 2020 – After reflecting upon recent events, I decided that some of the wording in the original version of this essay regarding the extent of moral progress already made by these United States, particularly in the last paragraph of page 1, appeared to be – and perhaps was – hubristic. Therefore, I have modified it. The principles and proposals contained in the essay remain unchanged.
Author’s Note, May 19, 2020 – In the original version of this essay, I speculated that a more frequent Census might reduce the instances of the Electoral College producing a result at odds with the popular vote, by bringing the state allocations of electoral votes closer to the states’ actual populations at the time of elections. Having since had an opportunity to examine the matter more closely, I realized that such a change would not have had the supposed effect on the three elections in which the electoral and popular results conflicted and figures for the subsequent Census were available: 1876, 1888, and 2000. Indeed, in all three cases, the candidates who lost the popular vote would have had their electoral lead increased if the electoral vote allocations by state had been based on the chronologically closer Census (the one conducted after the election). As this factual error removed the primary basis for the original version’s call for a five-yearly Census, I have removed that passage.