he Electoral College doesn’t have a sweatshirt, a logo or a mascot. It’s not a physical building, its members never get together (except with colleagues from their own state) and it ceases to exist as soon as it has performed its function. The term “Electoral College” doesn’t even appear in the Constitution. Yet its 538 members are responsible for one of the most significant tasks in the world: choosing the president of the United States.
When you cast your vote for president this November, you’re not voting for the candidate on the ballot, you’re voting for which group of electors from your state—Republican, Democrat or some third party—get to vote for president. If you don’t understand exactly how it works, you’re not alone. “For most Americans, even those who study it, the process is still a mystery,” says Christina Greer, associate professor of political science at Fordham University.
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How does the Electoral College work?
It works a lot like Congress: The U.S. is divided into 435 congressional districts, each of about 710,000 people. Each district elects one person to the House of Representatives. Every state elects two senators. Electoral College votes are allocated the same way. (The District of Columbia is the exception; it doesn’t have representation in Congress, but it gets three electoral votes.) There are 538 total electors, each with one vote.
In a presidential election, every party picks its own group of electors. The candidate who gets the most popular votes in a state on Election Day “wins” all the electors for that state (except in Maine and Nebraska, where electors are doled out differently, see page 14). Electors then meet in their own states on a set day in December and vote by paper ballot. Results are sent to the vice president and other officials, and the Electoral College is dissolved (until next time). On Jan. 6, Congress meets and states’ electoral votes are counted.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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