By Lawrence Lessig
For three years, we have been pressing the courts to answer a critical question: Who are the Electors? Are they people, with the inherent right of choice? Or are they agents, controlled by the state legislature?
Answering this question before it could decide a presidential election was critical. And today we finally got our answer: They are agents. This is not what we believe the Constitution requires. But it is incredibly important that the Court has resolved this question before it created a crisis.
That first step is now done. So, we are launching step two. The Supreme Court has spoken about what the Electoral College is. Today we launch a project to give the people a chance to speak about what they want the College to become.
Welcome to a new crowdsourced project to Fix The College.
We’re going to convene a first-of-its-kind, rolling, virtual convention, to enable ordinary people to engage in an exercise to determine what should happen to the College.
We all know the simple answers — either abolish it completely or keep it as it is. But we want to press beyond this simple stalemate, because we believe, based on our research, that there is actually much more agreement about what should happen to the College than most recognize. We want to make that common understanding clear, through a process of understanding through conversation.
Unlike other efforts to change the way the president is elected, Fix The College is committed to understanding through conversation. We aim to identify the fixes for the College that are meaningful and politically possible. I know that sounds impossible. Most think such an agreement cannot happen. But we’ve done the research, and I am confident that there is a chance now to build upon a real and common view that the vast majority of us — whether Republican or Democrat or None of the Above — hold about how our President should be elected.
Obviously, this has nothing to do with who gets elected in 2020. This is the moment to allow people to engage about our democracy without it being a partisan fight. I want this fixed by the next election. But none of us know anything about what that election will be. We’re behind a perfect veil of ignorance — so let’s decide now, what should make sense then.
From our conversations, a plan for reform will emerge. And after November, if we find that common agreement, we will launch a grassroots campaign in states across the country to bring it about.
Can you help us in this first step? If we’re going to deploy the platform to make this crowdsourced convention possible, it will require real resources. Can you commit to a monthly amount, that gives us 6 months to make this happen?
I know this is a difficult time — for everyone. Many have told me, this isn’t the time to think about a more hopeful democratic future. I think this is precisely the time. We need to see beyond these crises — to a democracy that we can all respect, building the society that we can celebrate equally.