What Is The Electoral College And How Does It Work?

Category: Politics 89 0

Different countries have different rules for their presidential elections. And America is a country where the president is not elected by the popular votes. Then you might be wondering, for whom do Americans vote in the Presidential election and does it makes sense to keep eyes on Trump vs. Biden polls? They cast a vote for the electors of their state. These electors make a group of officials, and this group together is called the Electoral College. The job of the officials of the Electoral College is to select the president of the country. So, you can say that the Americans cast their ballots for the state’s electors. And then, these electors elect the president of the country.

How Does The Electoral College Work?

The term Electoral College refers to a number of officials elected by the population of the country. Each electoral holds an electoral vote with which a president is selected. There are a total of 538 electoral votes. And it depends on the population of the state how many electoral votes it’ll have. No state can have fewer than three electoral votes.

California has the largest number of electoral votes that is 55. While, some less populated states have only three electoral votes, such as:

  • Wyoming
  • Washington DC
  • Alaska
  • North Dakota

A candidate requires 270 or more electoral votes to win the Presidency.

How Americans Elect Electoral College Officials?

On the day of the Presidential election, Americans cast their vote for electors. Generally, they cast votes for the candidates who won the ordinary votes in the state. After the Presidential election, Congress and the National Archives receive a certificate of Ascertainment by each state. The certificate contains the names of the state electors. After that, in December, these electors cast their votes for the president. In January, a session of Congress is held to certify the electoral votes. And the candidate who won 270 or above votes will be declared as the president of the country.

In the swing states (states with mixed votes), there is tough competition for the Presidential candidates. And in these states, the vote can go either way.

Why Was The Need For The Electoral College Felt?

Due to the country’s huge size, it is almost impossible to elect the president with a popular vote. So when the U.S constitution was drawn in 1787, they created the Electoral College. According to the constitution, the electors of the state select the president of the country. Moreover, this favored the smaller states as it wasn’t possible for them to select the president through popular vote.

Southern states also favored the formation of the Electoral College because it gave them a chance to choose a country’s president. As southern states had fewer rights and were densely populated. So, the Electoral College gave them more electoral votes and a great chance to impact the decision regarding the future of the country.

How Do Electors Vote For The Candidate?

Generally, electors vote for the candidate who wins the majority. But, electors do have the right to vote whichever candidate they prefer.

If an elector goes against the majority of the state, that elector is termed as a “faithless” elector. And since the formation of the Electoral College, there have been more than 150 “faithless” electors in America’s history. Recent examples of faithless electors raise a question on the Electoral College formation, and it hints towards the constitutional amendment for a better progressive country.

A Candidate Can Win The Public Vote But Still Not Be President

There are many examples in America’s history where a candidate won the public majority but lost the election. It is because the electoral can vote for any candidate regardless of the state. If an electoral is a republican, there are more chances of the republican candidate to win and vice versa.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the majority by three million more popular votes from Donald Trump. But Trump won the Electoral vote and so the Presidency.

What If No Candidate Gets A Majority From The Electoral College?

In this situation, the House of Representatives will vote to elect the president of the country. This only happened once in 1824. It is unlikely to happen with two parties having an almost equal majority in the country.

This knowledge makes Trump vs. Biden Florida polls more interesting. Let’s hope the best man wins the presidency.

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