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Electoral College

Part of Campaigns and Elections Unit
by

Aaron Hendrikson

on 14 November 2013

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Transcript of Electoral College

What is it?
How does it work?
The math*
What happens if they tie?
Who are the electors?
What do you think?
An indirect method for popularly electing a president and vice-president
When a voter casts a ballot for a presidential candidate, he or she is actually voting for a group of electors who then go on to formally elect the winner.
12th Amendment (XII)
The number of electoral votes a state has is equal to the congressional delegation from that state.
Yeah, but what's a congressional delegation?
Representatives + Senators = Congressional delegation = Electoral Votes
So, if Washington D.C. gets 3 electors, how many electors are there in total (i.e. how many could you possibly win)? (Hint: there are 435 members in the House of Representatives.)
538
You need a majority of all the electoral votes, which means the magic number you need to become president is___?
Individuals who are loyal to their political party.
They pledge to vote for their parties nominee.
The winner-take-all rule
The candidate that wins the state is supposed to get all the electoral votes.
2 exceptions: Maine and Nebraska base their electoral votes on Congressional districts. (Remember "ME and NE"
So for example, if Colorado had this system...
So who are you voting for when you vote for a candidate for president?
Pros and Cons
Pros:
Candidates have to address the needs of the states
Makes recounting the vote possible
Maintains federalism - gives small states a bit more power (this could also be a con)
Empowers 3rd parties
Cons:
Winner of the national popular vote can still lose the election (i.e. it's undemocratic)
Discourages voter turnout and participation
Hurts 3rd parties
Risk of faithless electors
How many electoral votes does each state get?
Full transcript