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The Electoral College and Alternative Voting Systems

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1 The Electoral College and Alternative Voting Systems

2 Voting for President: Then
Each state chose electors; The states would often hold elections to select the electors Each elector was allowed to cast two votes for whichever candidate he preferred; The candidate who received a majority of the votes was President; Second most votes (w/ a majority) was V.P. No popular vote. The 12th Amendment changed this system by requiring two separate votes for President and V.P.

3 Voting for President: Now
Political parties hold primary elections or caucuses in order to select a presidential candidate; People vote in primary elections according to the political party they are registered to. Based on the results from the primary, each party holds a convention and nominates a candidate to run for the presidency

4 Voting for President: Now
The manor for choosing electors is determined within each state by the state legislature. Most state laws establish a “winner take all” system - the winner of the popular vote gets all of the state’s electoral votes Citizens of each state vote for President in the general election held in November. A vote for the party’s candidate is really a vote for the party’s electors who have pledged to vote for the party’s candidate; After the general election, the electors in each state cast the official vote;

5 The Electoral College 538 Electors - Based on the total # of House and Senate members, plus 3 for the District of Columbia. States have the same # of electoral votes as they have representatives and senators. CA has 55 electoral votes (53 reps + 2 senators) Wyoming has 3 electoral votes (1 rep + 2 senators) Winner of the popular vote in the state takes all of the electoral votes. 270 out of 538 electoral votes wins the Presidency

6 2008 Electoral Map

7 What are the pros and cons of using the electoral college?
Critical Thinking: What are the pros and cons of using the electoral college?

8 Let’s Vote!! Should we keep the electoral college?
What are some alternatives to the electoral college system?

9 Alternative Voting Systems
First Past the Post The person with the most votes wins all. Candidates don’t need a majority, just a plurality to win Practiced by the United States, UK, Canada, India Second Ballot or Runoff System Elections are held in rounds If no candidate receives a majority in the 1st round, a 2nd round of elections is held. Candidates not receiving a certain percentage of votes in the 1st round are dropped in the 2nd round, Practiced in France.

10 Alternative Voting Systems
Instant Runoff Voters rank all candidates in order of preference. To win, a candidate must receive more that 50% of the vote; If no candidate receives more than 50% of the vote, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated and those votes are redistributed according to voter’s #2 preference. Practiced in Australia and Republic of Ireland

11 Alternative Voting Systems
Proportional Representation Voting focuses on parties, not candidates. Parties receive a number of seats in the government roughly proportionate to the number of votes they receive in the election. Allows for more third party representation. Practiced by most European countries

12 Critical Thinking: List some pros and cons of these alternative voting systems. If America were to adopt one of these alternative systems, which one should we choose? Why? Would another system ever actually work in America?

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