How Electoral Votes Work

| September 13, 2008

This US Presidential Election is truly historic. Either we are going to have a black man as President or a white woman as Vice President. No matter which side you are on, come November, we are going to have a historic first elected to the White House.

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I love politics and have strong feelings about the election, but this isn’t a political blog, and I’m not going to take sides and express my political views. Except for the fact that, I hate closed mindedness and political extremism. I think we should all open our hearts and minds and look at both candidates and vote for who would be best for our country, and not get hung up on hate, peer pressure, or single issues.

In spite of this, one can’t help but wonder, if this would have been a better choice for the Democratic ticket?

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OK now on to the good stuff. The president isn’t actually elected by popular vote. Each state has electorates and the electorates actually vote for the candidate. That’s why candidates focus on certain key states because to win the election they need at least 270 electoral votes.

Each state is assigned a number of electorates according to their population. Whichever candidate wins the popular vote in that state, gets all of the states electoral votes. I found a great web site called The Common Craft Show, that explains it really well.

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14 Comments on "How Electoral Votes Work"

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  1. Very good explanation, way to get it out there and get people educated!

  2. susan says:

    The major shortcoming of the current system of electing the President is that presidential candidates concentrate their attention on a handful of closely divided “battleground” states. In 2004 two-thirds of the visits and money were focused in just six states; 88% on 9 states, and 99% of the money went to just 16 states. Two-thirds of the states and people were merely spectators to the presidential election. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or worry about the voter concerns in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. The reason for this is the winner-take-all rule under which all of a state’s electoral votes are awarded to the candidate who gets the most votes in each separate state.

    Another shortcoming of the current system is that a candidate can win the Presidency without winning the most popular votes nationwide.

    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 would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections.

    The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

    The National Popular Vote bill has passed 21 state legislative chambers, including one house in Arkansas, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, and Washington, and both houses in California, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The bill has been enacted by Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, and Maryland. These four states possess 50 electoral votes — 19% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.

    See http://www.NationalPopularVote.com

  3. Emma says:

    Wow, that was quite the comment. Thank-you for the information and the great content. The popular vote does sound like a good idea.

    Emmas last blog post..How Electoral Votes Work

  4. This is a very interesting article, good information and helpful. Thank you

  5. BK says:

    Obama made a huge tactical error by not choosing Clinton, regardless if he despises her. The polls the last few weeks make that pretty obvious. It’s too early to know if his decision was a fatal mistake.

    BKs last blog post..President Mom and the First Dude

  6. Your blog is so cool and its fun reading it . The theme and design are very nice and unlike other blogs the advertisement ratio is quite low . Congrats you are doing a great job. Keep the good works going

  7. Headhunter says:

    It is heartening to read a blogger who is more interested in having readers make the best choice, rather than try to paint one of the candidates as Satan. It’s true that whatever we think of one side or the other, they all do good and they all goof up. This is a massive job interview, and we really should approach it like that.

    During the primaries, we were headhunters. Now we are the selection committee. Let’s do it wisely.

  8. Alvina says:

    Your blog is so cool and its fun reading it . The theme and design are very nice and unlike other blogs the advertisement ratio is quite low . Congrats you are doing a great job. Keep the good works going

    Alvinas last blog post..Evansville, Indiana

  9. Lincoln says:

    I happen to be glad we have an electoral system rather than a purely popular one, otherwise our national elections would be dictated by our most populous cities rather than a majority of states. It’s interesting to note that while Bush lost the popular vote in 2000, he won 30 states to Gore’s 20. The electoral system is a way to balance out the power of the electorate across all 50 states. =)

    Lincolns last blog post..Ranting at Panera Bread

  10. Emma says:

    Actually Lincoln I agree with you. Our founding fathers new what they were doing when they added checks and balances to our government. The electoral vote keeps the election fair for everyone. 😉

    Emmas last blog post..It’s Write Now Celebrates It’s 2nd International Talk Like A Pirate Day

  11. I found your site so interesting. Also the theme is very nice. Thank you so much for the priceless information.

  12. Yes it’s a truly fascinating election. If you look at the running nationwide polls you see that one week Obama is leading, the next it’s McCain.

    It would be right down to the wire anyway, but now there’s this massive financial meltdown, which is another element that makes this even more volatile and compelling.

    Will be fascinating to see how this all pans out.

    Matt Haydens last blog post..Heat

  13. Emma says:

    I agree Matt, it’s also a very important election. But I’m confident the American people will be wise enough to choose the right people for the job.

    Emmas last blog post..It’s Write Now Celebrates It’s 2nd International Talk Like A Pirate Day

  14. That was explained very clearly.. I have bookmaked it fro college project reference..