Corporation of New York and MIT’s
Sloan School of Management
Sloan School of Management and MIT’s
Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals
Chair: Arnold I. Barnett, MIT’s Sloan School
Alexander S. Belenky, Center for Engineering Systems
Robert M. Freund, Sloan School of Management, MIT
David C. King, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
Richard C. Larson, Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals,
Herman D. Leonard, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard
location: MIT’s Bartos Theatre (Building
E-15). Directions to Bartos Theater can be found here.
time: October 17, 2008, 8:30 a.m.—5:30 p.m.
Preliminary Program: Click
here to view
goal: Since its creation in 1787, the Electoral
College has remained the most mysterious mechanism for electing
a President of a country. There is no consensus among mathematicians,
systems scientists, and political scientists studying the Electoral
College on whether it can satisfactorily serve the U.S. in the
21st century, especially after two close elections in 2000 and
in 2004. Discussions of the Electoral College in the media mostly
focus on opinions about this unique election mechanism and are
not based either on its established quantitative features or
on its true merits and obvious deficiencies, leaving them unknown
or unclear to an overwhelming majority of the electorate.
conference aspires to inform media representatives of what is
really known about key Electoral College features, as well as
to spotlight unsolved systems problems associated with analyzing
this controversial election mechanism.
Electoral College experts, along with the authors of recent
proposals to reform the Electoral College and to improve its
use in presidential elections, will review already known features
of the Electoral College, as well as new findings. This will
help the media avoid publishing and airing incomplete and sometimes
incorrect information about the system of electing a U.S. President,
confusing voters and affecting civic participation. Some quantitative
features of the Electoral College, especially the way it works
in close elections, will be briefly discussed in a simple manner.
structure: The conference will be held in the
form of dialogs both among the panelists—nationally recognized
Electoral College experts—and between the experts and
the media who communicate information to American voters about
the system of electing a U.S. President.
conference is part of MIT’s effort to promote a systems
approach to studying voting systems and elections, in particular,
the Electoral College and U.S. presidential elections.
traditional conferences on presidential election issues, the
subject of the discussion will be the ideas and logic underlying
the election rules rather than electoral politics and voting
audience: Media representatives covering the 2008
presidential election and interested in discussing how the election
system really works are invited to participate in the dialog
with Electoral College experts; however, the conference is a
public event, and all interested individuals are welcome to
attend the discussion.
Representatives of the media interested in attending the conference
should register to receive an official
invitation and to attend lunch and refreshment breaks.
and organizers of the conference believe that this public event
will make a difference in understanding the Electoral College-
a unique American democratic institution—and contribute
to civic participation both in general and in the 2008 presidential
election in particular. The conference will be held in the proposed
format for the first time.