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Mailbag: Electoral College

Electoral College

In reading your article [“The Reasons for the Electoral College, Feb. 11, 2008″] including the rationale for the Electoral College, I find that you give the wrong impression of why slaves were counted as 3/5 person, as if that were for some prejudicial reason against black people and part of the lot of the downtrodden slave. If you have your history correct, you realize it was the slave states that pushed for full recognition of slaves to be counted in the population to determine the amount of representation and members of the Electoral College from each of the slave states. The North, or free states, did not want to count them and not because they were anti negro. They did not want the South to have over representation and thus control Congress and elections. So, the 3/5 was a compromise.

Darrel Nash
Maple Valley, Washington

FactCheck.org responds: We did not leave any impression — false or otherwise — about the origins of the three-fifths compromise. Our article simply stated the fact that slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person under the original Constitution as an example of constitutional limitations on direct democracy.