Every four years, as our presidential election approaches, one pundit or another apparently is required to write a column denouncing the Electoral College and advocating the selection of the president by popular vote. This year the task fell to Richard Cohen [“In this college, 29=0,” op-ed, Oct. 23]. 

Mr. Cohen’s argument, however, highlighted the major flaw in his proposal. He stated that “In 2000, Al Gore got precisely 543,895 more votes than George W. Bush.” In nearly all of the states, the counts represented only the initial raw tally, and the victor was decided when the margin of victory exceeded the margin of error. Under the current system, no candidate will dispute a state result if he thinks that he lost by only a half-million votes instead of by a million votes. 

However, in a “popular vote” election with no Electoral College, the fiasco that occurred in Florida would be repeated in all of the states, and each state, county, town and polling place would become a scene of endless dispute as to the precise number of votes each candidate received.

I think the nation would be better served by keeping the Electoral College and instead focusing reform efforts on gerrymandering. Both parties use gerrymandering to ensure safe congressional seats, which has led to more extremists of both parties getting elected and thus has contributed to the gridlock and lack of civility in Congress. 

Bill Bach, Gaithersburg