The election to determine the President of the United States in 2016 is just about here. As opposed to other elections in the United States, the President is the only one that is decided by a process other than the majority of the popular vote. The Electoral College is what is used in order to determine if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States. Even though the Electoral College has been used in every presidential election, many people still do no fully understand how it works.
— HillaryForPrison (@kencampbell66) November 6, 2016
What Is The Electoral College?
The name is misleading. The Electoral College is not a physical place. The Electoral College is actually just 538 people who are designated to vote for the President of the United States based on how their state votes on Election Day. The political parties in each state nominate the people they want as their state representative in the Electoral College. Based on the state popular vote, the winning parties Electors will attend the meeting in which the Electoral College casts their ballots.
How Are The Electoral Votes Determined For Each State?
Each state in the country is given a certain number of Electoral Votes. The largest is California with 55 while Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Vermont, and the District of Columbia all have three Electoral Votes. The number of Electoral Votes is equal to the number of Senators and Congressmen that each state has in Washington D.C. and can change after the national census is taken. The total of all Electoral Votes is 538. In order to become President of the United States, a candidate must win 270 Electoral Votes, which would give that person a majority.
— FBI Agent KenGB???????? (@NewsJunki3) November 8, 2016
When Does The Electoral College Vote For President?
The members of the Electoral College do not vote on Election Day. The votes of the Electors is actually cast a month later. This year, the Electors will meet on December 19. Once these votes are certified, they are sent to Congress who will meet on January 6, 2017, in which they will count the votes and officially announce the winner of the election.
Do The Electors Have To Cast Their Vote For The Winner Of Their State?
No federal law exists that would force Electors to cast their vote based on which candidate wins their state. Some states have taken it upon themselves to make their own law dictating that Electors vote in the way that their state voted. In these states, Electors could be subjected to paying a fine for voting differently than what the popular vote in their state dictates. Only on a few rare occasions in history has an Elector voted differently than their state. A list of states that have passed laws dictating that Electors vote in accordance to the popular vote of their state can be found here.
Do All States Give All Of Their Electoral Votes To Whoever Wins The Popular Vote In Their State?
For the most part, Electoral Votes in each state are considered to be winner take all. This means that the candidate that wins the majority of the popular vote would be given all of the Electoral Votes that the state has. Only Nebraska and Maine are the exceptions. According to 270towin.com, Maine and Nebraska each give two Electoral Votes to the candidate that wins the popular vote in their state. The remaining Electoral Votes are determined based on the candidate who wins the popular vote in each of the Congressional districts in Maine and Nebraska.
Is It Possible For The Winner Of The National Popular Vote To Be Different Than The Winner Of The Electoral College?
Although rare, it is possible for a candidate to have a majority of the national popular vote and still lose the election due to not being able to capture the 270 Electoral Votes needed to become President of the United States. Only four times in history has this happened. The Inquisitr recently published an article on the 2000 election which was the most recent occurrence of this phenomenon. The other times in which a candidate won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote occurred in 1824, 1876, and 1888.
Should The Electoral College System Be Changed?
Many people believe that the election process should be based on the popular vote. These people argue that by using the popular vote to select the President of the United States, you are assured that your vote means something. Arguments against the Electoral College say that it makes it feel like a person’s vote does not count. Ever since the Electoral College was formed, people have been trying to get rid of it. Over the course of history, more than 700 different proposals have been made in which the Electoral College would be either eliminated or strongly reformed.
The 2016 election for President of the United States could go down as one of the most historic elections in the history of the United States. Shortly, we will finally find out if Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the winner.
Do you think the Electoral College should be eliminated?
[Featured Image By Mel Evans/AP Photo]