Home > A3, Learning > The Electoral College and it’s effects on the voters

The Electoral College and it’s effects on the voters

Out of the things we have learned in government this year, one of the most over looked, yet most important topics is the Electoral College. The Electoral College is one of the most important factors in the election process and isn’t always clearly understood. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding and false accusations surrounding the Electoral College. Some of these accusations can sway the mind of some Americans to not vote. The Electoral College is the final say of the final decision, they choose the outcome and the Electoral College has been around since the very early days of our country. If the process was better understood I believe that it could help turn non-voters into participants in the election process.


Each state has a number of electors, which is equal to the amount of U.S Senators and representatives each state has. There are a total of 538 total Electoral College voters and they are the ones who choose the President and Vice President. The beginning issues with the College go all the way back to the very beginning of our country. Congress was fighting a battle between them and the people because it was believed that the people weren’t always right and wouldn’t be able to consistently make an educated vote. So congress created the Electoral College and put them in the 12th amendment. Ever since the Electoral College was reshaped and put into place, candidates began to plan there campaigning around the states with the most electoral votes. The overall goal is to reach to 270 electoral votes and you’d be crowned as the President.

Each state has done a good job with normally electing the same candidate as the popular vote. The biggest dilemma the Electoral College has ever faced was the 2000 election. The original problem first occurred when it was announced that Al Gore won Florida which in turn made Bush’s chances of winning much slimmer. As the night progressed, it was declared that Florida had gone from Al Gore winning to undecided. At around 2 a.m. eastern time, it was declared that Bush had won the state of Florida and when American’s woke up the next morning Florida was deemed too close to count. When Bush was declared the winner Gore demanded a recount and even though he was granted one when the recount concluded he still came up short. President Bush was elected into office even though he lost the popular vote to Al Gore. The 2000 election was one of the strangest elections to ever take place, because of the problems that occurred during the 2000 election, I believe it has played a late role in the mind set of many Americans surrounding voting, ad the Electoral College. There are many Americans who don’t vote and one of the main reasons for their decision to not participate is the Electoral College. Even though there is a lot of understandable or justifiable criticism surrounding the College, people shouldn’t give up their right to vote just because they don’t fully understand the process. The Electoral College protects us, we may think we’re always right but we unfortunate are not. We need these representatives to help us make the right decisions especially on the most important decision that our country faces every 4 years. A more educated election means there’s a better chance that we can put the right person in office to lead us.

  1. eugenel12
    May 1, 2012 at 10:11 am

    I agree with your last statement “A more educated election means there’s a better chance that we can put the right person in office to lead us” but then again being in Texas which most likely will never be democrat it makes it pointless to vote for me and i am a educated voter. oo well

  2. May 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    Presidential elections don’t have to be this way.

    The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of ‘battleground’ states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states that now are just ‘spectators’ and ignored after the primaries.

    In 2008, voter turnout in the 15 battleground states averaged seven points higher than in the 35 non-battleground states.
    If presidential campaigns did not ignore 200,000,000 of 300,000,000 Americans, one would reasonably expect that voter turnout would rise in the two-thirds of the country that is currently ignored by presidential campaigns.

    When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

    The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

    In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: AZ – 67%, CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

    The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes – 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

    Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

  3. May 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    The National Popular Vote bill would end the disproportionate attention and influence of the “mob” in the current handful of closely divided battleground states, such as Florida, while the “mobs” of the vast majority of states are ignored. 98% of the 2008 campaign events involving a presidential or vice-presidential candidate occurred in just 15 closely divided “battleground” states. 12 of the 13 lowest population states (3-4 electoral votes), that are non-competitive are ignored, in presidential elections. 9 of the original 13 states are considered “fly-over” now. Over half (57%) of the events were in just four states (Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia). Similarly, 98% of ad spending took place in these 15 “battleground” states.

    The current system does not provide some kind of check on the “mobs.” There have been 22,000 electoral votes cast since presidential elections became competitive (in 1796), and only 10 have been cast for someone other than the candidate nominated by the elector’s own political party. The electors now are dedicated party activists of the winning party who meet briefly in mid-December to cast their totally predictable rubberstamped votes in accordance with their pre-announced pledges.

    If a Democratic presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state’s dedicated Democratic party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. If a Republican presidential candidate receives the most votes, the state’s dedicated Republican party activists who have been chosen as its slate of electors become the Electoral College voting bloc. The winner of the presidential election is the candidate who collects 270 votes from Electoral College voters from among the winning party’s dedicated activists.

  4. May 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    Three clarifications and two questions: 1) Congress did not ‘create’ the Electoral College – the idea has been in the Constitution since 1787… the 12th Amendment alters the original process (perhaps to account for political parties) and sets electors to vote for a Pres-VP ‘ticket’ rather than top electoral vote-getter becoming President and runner-up winning vice-presidency. 2) Today, electors are ‘pledged” to vote for the candidate who wins in their state. On election day in Texas, for example, we’ll vote either for President Obama’s electors or Governor Romney’s electors… and the electors themselves are selected by the campaigns – typically as a reward for loyalty – in reality, they would have no incentive to cast their electoral votes for the the other candidate. This is why the electors’ actual votes are ceremonial (and receive little attention: we know in advance what they’ll do; therefore, electors actually affirm the results, state-by-state, from election day. 3) When we talk about reforming “the electoral college system,” then, what we are really talking about is questioning the wisdom of having 50 ‘winner-takes-all’ elections for president – one in every state – where the winner of each state receives an assigned number of electoral votes.

    Q1: Do we really want candidates to stategize about what combinations of states equal a “win” (270 ev’s) – even if that means they ignore substantial sections of the country in the process?

    Q2: I’m really curious to know more: what you mean when you say that the Electoral College “protects us”?? …my gut tells me you are thinking something interesting – I wish you had developed this point more fully!!

    Thanks for your work… it made me think!!

  1. May 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm

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