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Electoral College Essay

1721 words - 7 pages

The Electoral College
Andie Downs
ENG 105
Research Paper Final

Every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday of November, the election for the next President and Vice President of the United States takes place. Although thousands of individuals cast their vote for their candidate of choice on this day, it is really Electors that they are voting for. The electors that are selected will go on to choose the next President and Vice President of the United States. For example, the candidate that could win the popular vote of a state is not guaranteed because election is actually decided by the group of electors, called the Electoral College. The U.S Electoral College is the ...view middle of the document...

Direct voting of a state’s population was of course considered but the founders had also outlined previously in the constitution that they didn’t believe the average citizen was apt enough to select the president without a separate process being implemented. They worried that basing elections off of the popular vote would give overly populated areas more opportunity to vote too highly in favor of a certain candidate or that citizens would only vote for the candidate from their state (Kimberlang). Today, the Electoral College has 2 electors from each state represented by its U.S. senators, plus the number of its representatives. Electors themselves can be elected by two ways; either by being nominated by his or her state party or the elector actually campaigns for a spot. Electors cannot be a member of congress, a high-ranking U.S. official, or someone “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” (Weingast).
When voting for a presidential and vice-presidential candidate one is actually voting for the elector of that political party. Once a state votes during the election, the electors then choose the candidate that state will support through one of several systems. One is the winner-take-all system, where all electors go with the candidate that wins the popular vote, no matter how close it is. Another is the congressional district method, which is used in Maine and Nebraska where the vote is split between the electoral vote and the congressional district vote. The state is split into congressional districts and the winner of the popular vote in each district will receive an electoral vote. Most times electors will choose the candidate that received the most votes in the state that they represent (Bonsor). There are instances where faithless electors vote without following the popular vote, and vote based on their own opinion or from being bribed. There are four candidates in U.S. history that have won the election by winning the electoral vote, but losing the popular vote. The first instance of this happened in 1824 when John Adams received 38,000 less votes than Andrew Jackson, but neither won the majority electoral vote. That election was decided by the House of Representatives and Adams was made president. This occurrence happened again in 1876 when Rutherford B. Hayes won by the support of small states, the only time in history that the support of the small states won a candidate the election against Samuel J. Tilden. He had the support of five of the six small states as well as the electoral votes from Colorado. In 1888 Benjamin Harrison lost popular vote by over 95, 000 votes, but won electoral vote by 65 in the election against Grover Cleveland. This demonstrated the idea that the founding fathers were trying to prevent; a candidate winning significantly from a certain part of the country. The majority of the southern states voted in favor of Cleveland, totaling at over 425, 000 votes (Bonsor). The most recent instance occurred in 2000 when...

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