thảo luận Can someone explain this to me what the Electoral College is in the US

adavila posted on Nov 02, 2008 at 01:40AM
Im sorry to post this one the debate spot but the last time I posted a forum in the US spot it took 3 months for someone to answer

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hơn một năm qua Cinders said…
I'd be glad to, adavila!

So I assume you've been hearing that there are two kinds of voting numbers: The popular vote, and the electoral college vote. It is possible to lose the popular vote, but still win the presidency via the electoral college, as evidenced by GW in 2000. How is this possible? Well, let me explain.

Each state has a certain amount of electoral votes based on population. When a candidate wins the popular vote within that state, it's said that he wins the whole state, and receives all of the electoral votes for that state.

There are 538 representatives in the electoral college, elected by the people of the state they represent. This is equal to the total population of the House and Senate (435 Representatives and 100 Senators). The House and Senate, just so you know, is part of the Legislative branch of government. There are three branches of government in the US: The Legislative (House and Senate), Executive (White House) and Judicial (Supreme Court).

Like I said, when it's said that a candidate "wins a state", he wins all of the electoral votes for that state. For example, if Obama wins New York, he would receive 31 electoral votes, but if McCain wins Texas, he would receive 34 electoral votes, because of the number of representatives in Congress, which is based on population. So, for example, a less populous state, like Wyoming for example, would amount in only 3 electoral votes. But every little bit helps.

This means that, if a candidate barely wins in a populous state, like California (which has a whopping 55 electoral votes) means that more people voted against the winning candidate than they did in a smaller state... Does that make sense? This is why it's possible to lose the popular vote, but still win the presidency.

Because of this, some states are discussing dividing their electoral votes based on the results within the state. For example, Arizona has 10 electoral votes. What this new proposal would mean is, if Candidate A won by 60% and Candidate B had 40% of the vote, six electoral college votes would go to Candidate A, and the rest would go to Candidate B.

I may have gotten some things wrong here... This is the result of a conversation I had with parents, my brother and family friends about four years ago, plus looking up the electoral votes per state. But this is the general idea.
hơn một năm qua adavila said…
so if Obama wins the state of New York can one of the 538 representatives in the electoral college vote for mccain?
hơn một năm qua Cinders said…
Actually, yes. The electoral college representatives are not bound to vote by the popular vote, but the representatives for that candidate's party are the ones who are casting their vote. So it is possible but unlikely that an electoral college democratic rep for New York would vote for McCain.

EDIT: I stand corrected. According to the official website, some states reps ARE bound by law to vote for their party's candidate. New York is not one of those states, but California is.

last edited hơn một năm qua
hơn một năm qua adavila said…
Thank you
hơn một năm qua harold said…
Just to clarify: the electors are not elected by the citizens of the US. They are generally appointed by the political parties within each state. They then cast the votes according to which candidate for President "won the state". The identity of the actual electors is at least as secret as the identity of "Nielsen families": those who determine the ratings for TV shows in the US.

But it's a minor point: the identity of the electors doesn't particularly affect how the vote is generated, and they don't serve a term in any sort of office. They're appointed, cast their votes, and then have discharged their duties. Four years later, a different set of mystery people is appointed as electors.