sure is complicated

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Posted by Inside-out on October 12, 2008 at 19:45:02

In Reply to: Re: US electoral system posted by Outsider on October 05, 2008 at 21:22:36:

The Electoral College system in America was a compromise at the 1787 Constitutional Convention between allowing Congress to elect the president and allowing the American people to elect the president. Instead, citizens in each state essentially vote for electors when they cast their vote for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the general presidential election. Each state is awarded electors equal to its number of representatives in Congress plus two electors for each senator. In 48 out of 50 states, the candidate who wins the popular vote, even if by a small margin, receives all of that state's Electoral College votes. Read on to learn how to understand the U.S. electoral system.

step 1
Choose electors for each state. Electors are usually chosen by the political parties of each state for their party allegiance or for their relationship with a presidential candidate. Each political party chooses its own electors before the general presidential election in November of an election year.

step 2
Cast your vote for President of the United States in the general election.
The electors for the candidate who wins the most popular votes in each state meet in December. As noted above, the vast majority of states award all of their Electoral College votes to the popular vote winner in the state.
Receive at least 270 of the Electoral College votes to be elected President.
Total Electoral College votes equal 538--435 from the House of Representatives, 100 from the Senate and three allocated to the District of Columbia.

Count the Electoral College votes.
Each state's electors certify their votes and send them to Washington, D.C. In January, a joint session of Congress convenes and the votes are officially tallied. Of course, the American public usually knows who won a presidential election long before this official tally due to news coverage, calculation of Electoral College votes based on the popular election in each state and concession speeches by losing candidates.

Win the popular vote but not the presidency.
Since all the Electoral College votes are granted to the winner of the general election in 48 out of 50 states, it's actually possible to win the popular vote but not with the presidency. Just look at what happened in the 2000 election between George W. Bush and then Vice-President Al Gore.

Step6Don't fix it if it isn't broken. Although it has its critics, the system has lasted quite a long time which means it either works, or no one in Washington can agree on a better system to elect the President.

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