Turn on your television or radio, look at yard signs, billboards, listen to the chatter within your communities, it seems you can’t get away from the buzz that has evolved into one of the most controversial elections in American history. Regardless of who you choose to vote for this year the process remains the same and the one thing that continues to be confusing about the elections is the Electoral College. How does this process work? Well we hope to answer some of your questions here.
The Electoral College is the process by which our country elects our President and it was invented by the creators of the U.S. Constitution. They felt purely popular votes were reckless and not always fair, so the Electoral College was created. Each state has a number of electors equal to the combined total of its Senate members and House of Representative members. These electors are actually who decides who becomes President of the United States of America. As of today, the Electoral College consists of 538 electors, 535 being the total number of congressional members, and three representing Washington D.C.
When Americans cast their vote, they are actually casting their ballots for the electors in their state; those electors then vote for the candidates who got the highest popular votes in that state. Who ever gets the highest popular vote gets ALL of that state’s electoral votes. In order to win, a candidate needs 50 percent plus one of the total 538 electors. The magic number being 270. Candidates tend to focus on the “swing states” which are states that can go either way. These states consist of North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio. Ohio has correctly predicted 28 out of the last 30 presidents.
One downfall of this system is that a candidate could win the popular vote but still lose the Presidency in the electoral college; however that has only occurred 4 times since 1824. Whatever the result may be, the new president elected in office will be inaugurated on January 20 of the year following the election and our votes do matter, so exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, November 8th!