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Chapter 8 VOTING, CAMPAIGNS, AND ELECTIONS Institutional Focus: The Electoral College © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Do We Need the Electoral College? Supporters: Should be kept: because it works most of the time. Even though it failed to elect a President in four elections, 1800 (Jefferson), 1824 (Adams), 1876 (Hayes), and 2000 (Bush), each of these events was resolved peaceably. It exaggerates the winning candidate’s electoral support thereby increasing the President’s political capital. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
Do We Need the Electoral College? Critics the process is undemocratic, permits the candidates to win the Presidency despite having not received a majority of the popular votes, dangerous because if thrown into the House of Representatives the choice must be made from the three top candidates. advocates a system of direct elections for the position of President and Vice-President. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
The Electoral College Process The Electoral College consists of 538 Electors On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December of a presidential election year (the next will be in 2012) they officially elect the President and Vice-President of the United States. Each state chooses in the November general election—in a manner determined by its legislature—a number of Electors equal to the total of its Senators and Representatives in Congress. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
The Electoral College Process The parties select slates of Electors pledged to vote for their party’s nominee The Electoral College meets in December at state capitals across the country. The Electors are party regulars chosen for loyalty by the parties. The winner of the state/district’s presidential and vice-presidential popular vote is awarded the slate of Electors previously pledged. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
The Electoral College Process In most states, the voter checks the box for the presidential and vice-presidential nominees. In reality the voter is voting for an Elector or slate of Electors (selected by the party with the approval of the state legislature) pledged to that party nominee. Thus, the popular vote is an indirect vote for President and Vice-President. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
The Electoral College Process The results need to be reported to the state’s Board of Elections within two days. The Electoral College never meets as a whole; instead individual state electors meet in their state's capital. The votes are certified by the state's chief executive, the governor, and sent to Washington, DC, to be counted before a joint session of the newly elected Congress by the sitting Vice- President in his capacity as the President of the Senate, who meet the first week of January. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
The Electoral College Process If no one candidate receives 270 votes (the current absolute majority), the House, voting by states (one vote a state), elects the President; (done twice in 1800 and 1824) The Senate, voting as individuals (two votes per state), elects the Vice-President (done once in 1836). © 2011 Taylor & Francis
The Future of the Electoral College Reformers have sought to eliminate the Electoral College (especially after the 2000 presidential election) with little success. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
The Future of the Electoral College Reforms include abolishing electoral votes and replacing them with aggregate popular voting for President Going from at-large plurality districts to a proportional representative arrangement based on districting (2 at-large state based districts plus congressional or Electoral College within state districts). © 2011 Taylor & Francis
The Future of the Electoral College Could lead to the less popular states being ignored. Though, to some extent that already happens, winning the 10/11 most popular states is all that is necessary to win the Electoral College. © 2011 Taylor & Francis
How did the Electoral College system come about? The Framers did not want Congress to select the Pres/VP because it would violate the separation of powers.
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