how does the electoral college work for dummies

This way, they can hopefully avoid the phenomenon of "faithless electors," who are nominated to vote for a specific party but end up changing their vote in the actual election. The framers of the Constitution believed state-appointed delegates were necessary to represent the best interests of a largely uneducated, rural American population. It was designed as a compromise. Maine and Nebraska use a slightly different system. Wyoming has roughly 192,000 people per electoral vote. For example, Colorado has seven members in the US of Representatives and two Senators. When Mitch is not musing about our current political climate, he’s spending time with his family. Colorado has nine electoral votes and Wyoming has three. Critics consider the Electoral College undemocratic because individual votes are disproportionately more valuable in smaller states. A Wyoming citizen’s vote is just over three and a half times more valuable than that of a Colorado voter. Take Action To Protect Voting Rights With The ACLU, Demand Equal COVID-19 Economic Support And Healthcare For African Americans, Support The Switch To 100% Renewable Energy. Once the election is concluded each state’s governor prepares a document that lists all the Presidential candidates on the state’s ballot. Ex-Trump Voters Tell Current Ones Why They Should Oppose Him, How To Counter Radical Right Narratives Head On, Tackling Online Radicalization At Its Offline Roots, A Complete Analysis Of Trump’s 194th Unpresidented Week As POTUS. Although the District of Columbia isn’t a state, the 23rd Amendment of the Constitution allocated it three electors. In each state, the political parties choose potential electors on self-designated dates from the Spring to Fall. The Electoral College is a Constitutional process established by the founding fathers to elect the President and Vice President of the United States. We take pride in being reader-funded. Therefore, the state has nine electors. If you like our work, support our journalism. The primary advantage to the popular vote over the Electoral College is that voters, regardless of state, are equally represented in the final, national vote tally. Rogue electors add uncertainty into the process. The selection process often takes place at state conventions. Countdown to the 2020 Presidential Election, Electoral College Protests at State Capitols. And though the latest polls show Joe Biden with a growing lead over Trump in electoral votes, it's worth taking a look at how the Electoral College came to be, how it works, and how it can hypothetically give some Americans' votes significantly more weight than others. Too many elections have been decided not by improbable, unpredictable swing states, but by the millions of voters who stay home because they believe their vote doesn't count—so make sure you're registered and make a plan to vote today. The system is meant to prevent a tie from occurring in the popular vote. When voters go to the polls they’re not actually voting for a favored presidential candidate. A beginner's guide to the electoral college, the body of delegates that determines every presidential election — and why it matters so much for 2020. The President is not chosen directly by qualified voters but by a majority vote of at least 270 electors. The concept of choosing electors was laid out in the Constitution, which mandates that the number of delegates each state receives is equal to the number of its Congressional representatives (Washington, D.C., receives the same number of electors as the least populous state). Americans who go to the polls on Election Day don't actually select the President directly. Each state legislature is allowed to determine how its own electors are selected. Some delegates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention wanted Congress to choose the President while others preferred a democratic popular vote. Critics of the Electoral argue that swing states have too much electoral power. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. What Will Happen To Belarus After Lukashenko Falls. Those votes are recorded onto a “Certificate of Vote”, a document that is subsequently sent to the National Archives and to Congress. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. Since the number of electors allotted to every state is calculated by adding House districts and Senate representation, and since every state has two Senate members, lesser populated states are guaranteed a seat, albeit a smaller one, at the nation’s election table. Now, with more than 200 million diverse voters spread from coast to coast, concentrated in urban areas, and more educated than ever, it seems counterproductive to still be using the same system after more than two centuries of intense nationwide change. Giving states with smaller populations a voice is the fundamental advantage that the Electoral College has over the popular vote. Editors handpick every product that we feature. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website. Political parties in every state choose a new slate of electors during each presidential election cycle. Regardless of how much (or how little) representative weight your vote may seem to carry in the Electoral College, elections can be determined by just a handful of votes in any state, big or small. On top of all this, there's always the possibility of a faithless elector, who, in deciding not to vote for the candidate they were supposed to, completely negates a chunk of their state's popular votes. The Electoral College is also meant to correct for votes cast by uninformed voters that could skew the results. Electing the president prior to the […] Most states use a winner take all system that distributes all electoral votes to the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote. zipsearch.init({"jobs_per_page":3,"container":"zipsearch_container"}); Mitch Eiven is a Rantt contributor and freelance writer focusing on politics and current events. House Clerk staff verify the official Electoral College votes from the State of Illinois during a joint session of Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, USA on Jan. 6, 2017. After the election, 538 electors meet all around the nation, cast their votes and forward the results to Congress. It’s a process, a Constitutional compromise that we use to elect the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. The 538 electors aren’t actually chosen until election day. Colorado has roughly 633,000 people per electoral vote. The Electoral College helps ensure the election concludes in a timely manner. Each state’s appropriation of electors is equal to its representation in Congress. States have different laws regulating how electors are chosen and what their specific responsibilities would be. The Electoral College can disregard the will of the majority. Colorado has a population of 5.7 million. We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. This “Certificate of Ascertainment” also includes the names of each candidate’s electors, the name of the winning candidate and a listing of electors that will attend a meeting in December. Federalism affords smaller population states opportunities to affect government at the national level. Because of how delegates are allotted, each of Iowa's six Electoral College votes represents about 525,000 Iowans, while California, the most populous state in the country, sees 718,000 Californians represented by each of its 55 Electoral College votes. Moments like these require unrelenting truthtelling. This imperfect process, abhorred as often as it is lauded, was a fluid effort by the nation’s founders to consistently strive for a more perfect union. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. The candidate’s name on the ballot is just a stand-in for a group of electors who, in most cases, will vote for that candidate. Andrea Park is a Chicago-based writer and reporter with a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the extended Kardashian-Jenner kingdom, early 2000s rom-coms and celebrity book club selections. In the 2000 U.S. presidential election, for example, more Americans voted for Gore, but Bush actually won the presidency because he was awarded the majority of Electoral College votes. Almost 60 percent of Americans say no. Currently, 33 states and Washington, D.C., have laws in place that bar members of the Electoral College from changing their votes, but only a handful of these laws actually penalize faithless electors and/or erase their changed votes. Take, for example, the case of a swing state like Iowa, which ranks in the bottom half of the most populous U.S. states, yet has played a decidedly outsize role in determining the winners of most recent presidential elections. Citizens voters do not choose the President directly. Members of the House of Representatives and the Senate come together in early January at a joint session of Congress to tally all the states’ electoral votes. Calls were immediately made for the elimination of the Electoral College, which, it seemed, no longer adequately represented the true interests of an increasingly diverse citizenry largely clustered in just a handful of states. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at, A Guide to Celebrity Presidential Endorsements, What's at Stake for Police Reform in November, Joe Biden's Town Hall Was a Whole New Level of Zen, Savannah Guthrie Went Head-to-Head With Trump, Your Guide to the 2020 Presidential Debates, What's at Stake for Healthcare in November, What's at Stake for Immigration in the Election, What's at Stake for Education in the 2020 Election, What's at Stake for Gun Control in November. In August 2016, Alabama Republicans chose two electors at the party’s executive meeting in Huntsville and seven more were elected at district meetings. According to the US Constitution, members of the House or Senate cannot be electors nor can any ”person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States.” In addition, the 14th Amendment forbids state officials who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the United States or given aid and comfort to its enemies” from being electors. Learn how it works and the history behind it in this electoral college 101.

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