” The Electoral College is a catastrophe for a democracy.”– Donald Trump, November 6, 2012
” The Electoral College is in fact genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller sized ones, into play. Marketing is much different!”– Donald Trump, November 15, 2016
Every four years, Americans get a little lesson in constitutional law when they are advised that presidents are not in fact chosen by the people; the winner of the popular vote nationally doesn’t necessarily win the election, the main winner is selected by the Electoral College. When individuals vote in governmental elections, they aren’t really voting for president at all: They are voting for slates of electors put forward by each celebration who are expected to elect the winner of their state’s presidential race.
According to the U.S. National Archives, which collaborates the Electoral College’s actions, between Election Day and December 8, states need to solve any disagreements about who has actually won their election so that the proper electors are named. Electors then satisfy to cast their votes in their particular states on December14 The votes of the electors are positioned in sealed envelopes and sent to Washington, where they should be received no later than December23 On January 6, after the new Congress assembles, it fulfills in joint session to literally count the electoral votes and formally identify who the next president will be. If simply one senator and one agent challenge the outcomes, each house satisfies individually to talk about the objections and fix them.
As everyone understands, the winner is whoever gets 270 electoral votes— one more than half the total number of electoral votes. Each state gets electoral votes equivalent to the variety of Home members and senators from that state, plus three for the District of Columbia, making an overall variety of 538 electoral votes, with 269 being precisely half. (Ties are in theory possible, in which case the election would be thrown into your house of Representatives, where each state would have one vote, per the Twelfth Modification)
Note that the president needs to get an outright bulk of electoral votes. It’s not enough to get the most electoral votes in the event that more than two candidates divided the vote. If no prospect gets 270, then the House of Representatives will decide the winner. One reason this is necessary is that it successfully ruins the viability of third parties in governmental elections: In practice, they can’t ever get a bulk of electoral votes and therefore can only function as spoilers. Normally speaking, 3rd parties injure the celebration closest to them ideologically. (Some Republican politicians are now casting aspersions on the Libertarian Celebration for effectively triggering Trump to lose a number of states.)
Another important wrinkle in the method the Electoral College works is that numerous electors are not legally bound to vote for the candidate who won their state or the one to whom they are nominally vowed. On numerous celebrations, such “ faithless electors” have actually voted contrary to the will of their celebration and their states. Some states now supply legal penalties to avoid this from occurring, however others don’t. There has never ever been a case where faithless electors affected the outcome of the election; the margin of success in the Electoral College has always been adequate to prevent this from happening.
Undoubtedly, one argument that is always produced keeping the Electoral College is that it tends to amplify most of the victor. Because the winner of a state gets all of its electoral votes (other than in Maine and Nebraska, where electoral votes are allocated according to congressional districts), the president’s winning Electoral College percentage is always substantially higher than his percentage of the popular vote. Indeed, as we all understand too well, it is quite possible to lose the popular vote nationally yet still win the presidency in the Electoral College, as Trump did in2016 His victory over Hillary Clinton there by 304 to 227 votes is what allowed him to govern legitimately, if not properly. (The Electoral College winner likewise lost the popular vote in 1824, 1876, 1888, and 2000.)
Plainly, this is an absurd system. No other country has anything like it. It exists due to the fact that the Founding Dads were deeply distrustful of pure democracy.