2DEFINITIONA group of people named by each state legislature to select the President and Vice President
3During the General Election when casting a ballot for a particular candidate, voters are actually voting for a slate of electors. These electors in turn will vote for that candidate in the Electoral College
4The Electoral College was devised for 3 reasons 1. The framers of the Constitution feared direct democracy. Hamilton and the other founders did not trust the population to make the right choice.“election should be made by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station” – James Madison
5The Electoral College was devised for 3 reasons 2. The founding fathers wanted to protect the interests of smaller states and rural areas
6The Electoral College was devised for 3 reasons 3. The Electoral College helps dilute the effect of votes from densely populated centers which may steer away from the concerns of the rest of the country
7Other states nominate Electors in party conventions Presidential Electors are nominated by their state political parties in the summer before the Popular Vote on Election DayIn some states, the Electors are nominated in primaries the same way that other candidates are nominatedOther states nominate Electors in party conventionsIn Pennsylvania, the campaign committees of the candidates name their candidates for Presidential Elector
8ELECTORS The number of electors for each state is based on # of senators # of representativesPennsylvania has 21 Electoral votesAll states have a minimum of 3 electoral votes
9The party that wins a state elects its entire slate of Electors The party that wins a state elects its entire slate of Electors. This is known as a Winner Take-all System (2 exceptions: Maine & Nebraska)
10The Presidential Electors meet in their respective state capitols in December, 41 days following the election, at which time they cast their electoral votes. Thus the "electoral college" never meets as one national body.
11Candidates must receive a majority of the electoral vote to be declared the President-elect or Vice-President-elect
12ELECTORAL VOTES 435 U.S. Representatives + 100 U.S. Senators + 3 electoral votes (Washington D.C.)= 538 total electoral votes
14If no candidate for President receives an absolute electoral majority 270 votes out of the 538 possible, then the House of Representatives is required to go into session immediately to vote for President. (an even split would be 269 votes)
15The House votes en-bloc by state for this purpose that is, one vote per state, which is determined by the majority decision of the delegation from that state. if a state delegation is evenly split that state is considered as abstaining.
16This vote would be repeated if necessary until one candidate receives the votes of more than half the state delegations—at least 26 state votes, given the current number, 50, of states in the union.
17If no candidate for Vice President receives an absolute majority of electoral votes, then the United States Senate must do the same, with the top two vote getters for that office as candidates. The Senate votes in the normal manner in this case, not by States. It is unclear if the sitting Vice President would be entitled to cast his usual tie-breaking vote if the Senate should be evenly split on the matter
18If the House of Representatives has not chosen a winner in time for the inauguration (noon on January 20), then the Constitution of the United States specifies that the new Vice President becomes Acting President until the House selects a President. If the winner of the Vice Presidential election is not known by then either, then under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the Speaker of the House of Representatives would become Acting President until the House selects a President or the Senate selects a Vice President
19As of 2006, the House of Representatives has elected the President on two occasions, in 1801 and in 1825.
20A faithless elector is one who casts an electoral vote for someone other than whom they have pledged to elect. On 158 occasions, electors have cast their votes for president in a different manner than that prescribed by the legislature of the state they represent.
21Of those, 71 votes were changed because the original candidate died before the elector was able to cast a vote. Two votes were not cast at all when electors chose to abstain from casting their electoral vote for any candidate. The remaining 85 were changed by the elector's personal interest or perhaps by accident.
22Since a state's electoral slate is chosen by the political party, and electors are usually those with high loyalty to the party and its candidate, a faithless elector runs a greater risk of party censure than governmental action