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What is it? How does it work? Is it effective? What are the benefits and problems?
The Electoral College is made up of 538 voting member who cast votes to adopt the President and Vice-President of the United States. When voters go to vote, they will be selecting which applicant obtains their state’s electors. The contender who has the most votes, wins the Presidency.
Every four years, voters go to the ballots and select an applicant for President and Vice-President. The runner who wins with the most votes in a state wins that state’s electoral points. To win the election the candidate must reach a total score of 270 and if not, there is a re-count.
The history of the voter’s college
Well-known in Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, the Electoral College is the recognized body which vote into office the President and Vice President of the United States. Each state has as many points the elector can get in the Electoral College as it has Representatives and Senators in the United States Congress, and the District of Columbia has three electors. When voters go to the polls in a Presidential election, they are voting for the slate of electors vowing to cast their ballots for that ticket in the Electoral College.
Initially, the Electoral College provided the Constitutional Convention with a compromise between the popular election of the President and congressional selection.
The 12th Amendment endorsed in 1804 transformed the original method, permitting for discrete ballots for determining the President and Vice President. Later, the 23rd amendment was created to guarantee that the district of Columbia has a voice in the electoral system too. The district of Columbia has had three electors since the 23rd Amendment was approved in 1961.
Each political party in each state get to control the procedure for selecting their state’s electors. Some states have electors run for the position at political party settlements held during the primary development.
An uncommon issue during the election is the Popularity vote vs. Electoral college controversy, even though its rare it happens. Many US citizens complain that the Electoral college is unfair when their favored candidate doesn’t get selected, but the undesired candidate is chosen to be president. The college just ignores the popularity vote and goes ahead and starts their process. Nothing goes against the final decision that the college makes the official electoral college voting starts.
Here is a recent example of a presidential candidate losing the popularity vote and wining the electoral college vote. The Democratic party outpaced President-elected Donald Trump by about 2.9 million votes, with 65,844,954 (48.2%) to his 62,979,879 (46.1%). (CNN 2016) President Donald J. Trump is the fifth runner to have lost the popularity vote and has still won the selection.
What, how, and who won the popular vote but lost the election?
There have been other efforts to have a change in this system, mostly after cases in which a candidate wins the popular vote but loses in the Electoral College. Five times a contender have won the popular vote and lost the selection.
- Andrew Jackson in 1824 lost to President John Quincy Adams
- Samuel Tilden in 1876 lost to President Rutherford B. Hayes
- Grover Cleveland in 1888 lost to President Benjamin Harrison
- Al Gore in 2000 lost to President George W. Bush
- Hillary Clinton in 2016 lost to President Donald J. Trump
Do voters have to vote for their party’s candidate?
Neither the Constitution nor Federal election laws compel electors to vote for his or her party’s candidate. That said, twenty-seven states have laws on the books that need electors to vote for his or her party’s candidate if that candidate gets a majority of the state’s fashionable vote.
Overall, twenty-four states have place in situ new restrictions since then — thirteen states have additional restrictive elector ID laws in situ (and six states have strict image ID requirements), eleven have laws creating it more durable for voters to register, seven prunes on early vote opportunities, and 3 created it more durable to revive vote rights for individuals with past criminal convictions.
In 2016, fourteen states had new option restrictions in situ for the primary time in a very presidential election. Those fourteen states were: Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Ohio, Rhode Island, South geographical area, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. (Brennan Center)
In 2017, legislatures in Arkansas and in North Dakota passed elector ID bills, that governors in every state signed, and Missouri enforced a restrictive law that was elapsed ballot initiative in 2016. Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, and New Hampshire conjointly enacted restrictions last year, additionally to laws that were on the books for previous elections. (Brennan Center)
In 2018, New Hampshire and North Carolina have passed new limits. (Brennan Center)
What happens if no one gets a majority of Electoral College votes or a tie happens?
If no one gets many electoral votes, the election is thrown to the U.S. House of Representatives. The top 3 contenders play with every state casting one vote. Whoever wins most of the states wins the election. the method is that the same for the Vice Presidency, except that the U.S. Senate makes that choice. (Huff post)
The Pros of the electoral college.
- The Founding Fathers enshrined the electoral college within the United States Constitution because they thought it absolutely was the most effective technique to decide on the president.
-Using electors rather than the popular vote was meant to safeguard against clueless or uneducated voters by putting the final decision within the hands of electors presumably to possess the knowledge necessary to create the most effective decision. Also, it’s to stop states with larger populations from having undue influence; and to compromise between electing the president by popular vote and letting Congress select the president.
- The electoral college ensures that every state in the US are involved in choosing the President in the US.
-If the election depended exclusively on the favored vote, then candidates may limit campaigning to heavily-populated areas or specific regions. To win the election, presidential candidates want electoral votes from multiple regions and so they build campaign platforms with a national focus, which means that the winner will be serving the wants of the whole country.
3. The Electoral College guarantees certainty to the result of the presidential election
– If the election is based on popular vote, it’d be possible for a candidate to receive the highest number of popular votes without getting a majority.
The Cons of the electoral college.
1. The issues that the Founding Fathers faced about the lack of information in the public no longer affect the electoral college, so the system no longer matters.
–technology permits voters to get the required data to create educated choices in a way that might not have been predicted by the Founding Fathers.
2. The electoral college offers an excessive amount of power to large states and allows the presidential election to be determined by a few of the bigger states that have a larger population.
– Political parties can count on winning the electoral votes in certain large states states
3. The Electoral College overlooks the decision of the public.
–There are over three hundred million individuals within the US however, just 538 individuals decide who is president.
Why does it matter?
The Electoral College system also distinguishes the United States from other systems where representatives decide who will be the leader of the nation. The representatives voted in by the people who live in their own respected states decide which candidate they want that would benefit them the most for the president’s position.
Is it Fair?
The problem we have in the system is the view that the American people don’t have a say in whom they want for president for their country. Some people believe the electoral college is rigged or it’s just a way for the government to help involve the nation’s people into the politics. For example, this has happened this 2016 presidential elections, president-elect Donald Trump just recently lost the popular vote against Hillary Clinton. It was thought that Hillary Clinton was to be the president of the united states for sure when the time for the college to decide Donald Trump
- “Electoral College Fast Facts.” US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives, history.house.gov/Institution/Electoral-College/Electoral-College/.
- Elving, R. (2016, November 06). How Does The Electoral College Work, And Is It Fair? Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2016/11/06/500660424/how-the-electoral-college-works-and-why-you-don-t-want-to-think-about-it
- How do you become an Electoral College elector? What you need to know. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/m.mic.com/articles/amp/162702/how-do-you-become-an-electoral-college-elector-what-you-need-to-know
- It’s official: Clinton swamps Trump in popular vote. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.cnn.com/cnn/2016/12/21/politics/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-popular-vote-final-count/index.html
- Josephson, A. (2018, May 18). The Pros and Cons of the Electoral College. Retrieved from https://smartasset.com/insights/the-pros-and-cons-of-the-electoral-college
- Murse, Tom, and Nieman Foundation. “Yes, There Was Actually An Electoral College Tie.” ThoughtCo, www.thoughtco.com/the-first-electoral-college-tie-3367504.
- New voting restrictions in America. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.brennancenter.org/new-voting-restrictions-america
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