Published: October 29, 2008

Although the memory of hanging chads still clouds the electoral mood, elections have come a long way. But how effective is our current system? Does it accurately register the will of the People? And why did America’s founders opt out of direct democracy? With the help of callers, the History Guys provide the backstory on voting rights, mechanisms, and manipulations. Historian Mark Summers describes some of the hijinks common in Gilded Age politics, and historian Alexander Keyssar helps make sense of the Electoral College.