Electoral college book author presents May 12 as part of LIT Talks series

The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature, in partnership with the Iowa City Public Library, will host author Jesse Wegman on May 12, when he will discuss his new book, Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College. Wegman’s talk will be online at 7 p.m. Visit https://bit.ly/LITtalks to register for this free Zoom webinar, or stream live via The Library Channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/thelibrarychannel.

Wegman’s talk is part of LIT Talks, a series of occasional events designed to bring the authors of books about politics and social engagement to the library to discuss the ideas in those books. For this event, Wegman will visit virtually. Attendees who watch through Zoom will be able to ask questions of Wegman using the Q&A function.

Wegman has been a member of the New York Times editorial board since 2013, writing editorials on the Supreme Court and legal affairs.

Two of the last five presidential elections have been won by the candidate who lost the popular vote. That, coupled with Iowa’s own problems with voting and how those votes are counted, makes Wegman’s book a timely contribution to an ongoing discussion.

In the book, Wegman makes a case for choosing presidents based on a national popular vote. In this compact, deeply researched, highly readable history of the Electoral College, he describes its controversial origins, profiles some of the more than 700 efforts to abolish or reform it over the years, and explains why it is now essential for us to revamp this obsolete system and finally make every citizen’s vote matter.

Wegman debunks the most persistent myths and misconceptions about the Electoral College, from “The framers thought it was the best way to choose a president,” to “Big cities would dominate a popular vote.” He also follows the efforts of the team behind the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a constitutional workaround that has won the support of 15 states and the District of Columbia, bringing the nation closer to this goal than it has been in half a century.

Previous LIT Talks include presidential candidate and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg discussing his book, Shortest Way Home, and Drake University Professor Jennifer Harvey discussing her book, Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America.

While Prairie Lights usually would be on hand to sell books at the event, for this virtual event the store will have the book available for advance purchase at 25 percent off the list price. They are offering free delivery in Iowa City/Coralville, as well as mail order. Visit www.prairielightsbooks.com or call (319) 337-2681 to order. A digital edition also is available through icpl.overdrive.com with library card.

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