how does the electoral college work?


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john l
November 2, 2004, 01:37 PM
I assume that when the popular vote is found in a state, then the state must cast all its electoral votes based on population, to the candidate.
is that correct?
john l

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R.H. Lee
November 2, 2004, 01:40 PM
http://www.fec.gov/pages/ecworks.htm

OF
November 2, 2004, 02:20 PM
States get to choose how they are going to designate their electors. Popular vote seems to be the way it's done, but there is no federal constitutional requirement or 'right' for an individual to cast a ballot for a federal office.

There is no 'right to vote' in this country. The states choose how to send their electors, that can happen in any number of ways. In 2000, the FL legislature picked the electors directly, it was only later that we found out that W won the popular vote.

- Gabe

Alan Fud
November 2, 2004, 02:39 PM
In over-simplified terms, the people of America do not elect the President, the States do. Each state is given a number of votes in proportion to the number of people that it has in relationship to the other states in the country. Then, which ever candidate gets the mosts votes in a state, they get ALL of the votes from that state.

For example, Texas has 34 electroral votes and California has 55. Let's say voting is fierce Bush gets 1,000,001 votes in Texas and Kerry gets 999,999. Bush would be entitled to all 34 of Texas's electroral votes.

Then let's say that it LOOKS like Bush has the election in the bag and voters in California decide to stay home. Let's say Bush gets 2 votes in California and Kerry gets 3 votes. Kerry would win in California and get all 55 of their electroral votes.

Kerry would have 1,000,002 popular votes (999,999 + 3) and Bush would have 1,000,003 popular votes (1,000,001 + 2) but Kerry would be in the lead with 55 electroral votes and Bush behind with 34 electroral votes.

That might be oversimplified but that's the way it works.

OF
November 2, 2004, 02:52 PM
Then, which ever candidate gets the mosts votes in a state, they get ALL of the votes from that state.Except in Maine and Nebraska, which split their electors depending on how the vote turns out.

I think the important thing to understand is that the only reason anyone gets to vote at all is because there are election laws in each state that say you can. For instance, the Pennsylvania state legislature could up and decide to make a law tomorrow that if Punxatawny Phil (the groundhog) sees his shadow, the state is going to send the republican electors to washington and there isn't anything the people can do about it except vote their elected representatives out of office.

Point being, there is no constitutional (federal, anyway) 'right to vote'. It's a republic, not a democracy.

- Gabe

musher
November 2, 2004, 03:55 PM
Each state is given a number of votes in proportion to the number of people that it has in relationship to the other states in the country

Not exactly. Each state gets the same number of electoral votes as they have representatives in the house plus 2 for their senators.

This has the effect of giving low population states more votes than they would have if electoral votes were assigned in proportion to their population.

Waitone
November 2, 2004, 04:26 PM
The key to understanding the why of the electoral college is to know the United States is a union of independent political entities called states. The president of the union is to be selected by its members, states.

Founding fathers had to figure a way to permit two seemingly opposite needs to co-exist in one political system. There was a need to ensure proportional representation and there was a need to ensure a council of equals. The balance was struck by giving electors votes equal to the proportionate representation based on population (house members) plus a kicker (2 senators) for every state. The effect was to raise small state's influence in an election and diminish the effect of populous states.

In interpreting the extra innings of this election keep firmly in mind we are a union of states where states elect the chief executive of the union. We are not one country where we elect a ruler.

Old Fud
November 2, 2004, 04:42 PM
So far, so good.
Indeed, the state gets as many votes as it has federal representatives (determined by population) plus Senators (always 2)
And each state is entitled to select those voters by whatever method it wants to use --- which may or may not include voting.

In the words of the Ginzu man, "but wait, folks, there's more."
The voters who go to the electoral college to choose a president
(notice how I said that. It was carefully worded.)
Are REAL PEOPLE.

They are sent to the electoral college.
They meet. They discuss.
And then each person there casts his vote as he chooses to.
Which is exactly what the Electoral College was set up to do and why it works that way. So that Delegates meet, hammer out compromises, negotiate, and then choose who our next president shall be.

Consider what George C. Wallace was trying to do when he ran for president. He didn't hope to win! He did what he wanted to do -- He carried states -- he had electoral votes. If he could have pulled this off in a year where his votes made the difference between "R" and "D" as the next president, he would have been able to dictate terms. As it turned out, his gamble didn't pay off. The election was decided without him.

However, This arrangement also means that California could vote 80% for ****** (pick your poison), send 57 electors to college, and discover later they decided to vote for Bugs Bunny.
Who knows? They just might, too.

john l
November 2, 2004, 05:06 PM
thanks guys,
I knew the devil was in the details.
john l

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