Presented by the James Bowie High School Social Studies Department
A big thanks to Mr. Bill Reed National Board Certified Career and Technical Education teacher James Bowie High School
On November 4, 2008 American voters will once again go to the polls to elect the President of the United States. So, how does it all work and who really “elects” the President? The following is a brief summary of how the election process takes place.
During the summer of 2008 Texas (and every other state) held separate Democratic and Republican conventions. Each party selected 34 officials to become that party’s electoral vote. Electors are chosen for their party loyalty.
TRIVIA TIME DID YOU KNOW THAT: Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to leave the continental U.S. when he sailed to Panama in 1906? Theodore Roosevelt was the first U.S. President to leave the continental U.S. when he sailed to Panama in 1906?
On November 4, 2008 Americans will go to the polls to cast their vote for President. The people’s vote is called “ The Popular Vote.”
That evening the news media will report each state’s popular vote. The winner of the popular vote by state will determine how the electoral votes are cast.
Most states use a “winner- take-all” rule for the electoral vote. This means that whichever candidate receives the most popular votes in that state’s general election, they will receive ALL the electoral votes from that state.
Texas uses the “winner- take-all” rule. Let’s say that here in Texas 5,000,000 people vote for Candidate A and 5,000,001 people vote for Candidate B.
Candidate B, who received a majority of the popular vote here in Texas, would be awarded ALL of our 34 electoral votes.
In early December, the 34 officials chosen by Candidate B’s party here in Texas would meet in Austin to “officially” vote for president and vice-president. This same procedure would occur at the same time in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
On January 6, the current Vice-President of the United States will count all 538 electoral votes in a joint session of Congress. A candidate must win 270 electoral votes to become President.
TRIVIA TIME DID YOU KNOW THAT: Jimmy Carter is the only Presidentto have graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy? Jimmy Carter is the only President to have graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy?
SOME UNIQUE ASPECTS ABOUT THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE SYSTEM
In the election of 2008 a candidate could win the electoral vote in as few as the 11 most populated states, lose the vote in the remaining 39 states and Washington D.C., and still have the necessary 270 electoral votes to become President.
Since Texas has 32 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, each of them would vote for President. Whichever candidate receives the most votes, the state of Texas would cast its one vote for that person.
Since there are 50 states, a candidate must receive 26 state votes in order to become President.
TRIVIA TIME DID YOU KNOW THAT: In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first President to appear on television?
TRIVIA QUESTION #4 ANSWER FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
Here is another unique aspect of the electoral college system. A presidential candidate may receive more people (popular) votes throughout the entire nation and still not win the electoral count.
In 2000, George W. Bush (Republican) received a little over 50 million popular votes across America.
Al Gore (Democrat) received a little over 51 million popular votes.
However, Mr. Bush received 271 electoral votes to Mr. Gore’s 266, and Mr. Bush won the presidential election.