The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #147991   Message #3433023
Posted By: GUEST,highlandman at work
08-Nov-12 - 10:30 AM
Thread Name: BS: Election of the US President
Subject: RE: BS: Election of the US President
Electoral votes are the number of Representatives allocated a state PLUS TWO representing the Senators. So the count is a bit skewed to favor the less populous states, at least from the proportionality perspective. In California your individual vote is worth about 1/600,000th of an electoral vote, 1/500,000 in a smaller state like South Carolina, but as much as 1/200,000 in the least populous states like Wyoming.

Of course no campaigns spend a lot of time in Wyoming because it's still just 3 electoral votes.

Little-known to people who haven't actually worked inside this system, the electors are real people. Once upon a time their names were on the ballot and not the candidates. Eventually they began to announce pledges ahead of time to cast their votes for a particular candidate. It wasn't too many years ago that the ballots were changed to show only the candidate the electors are pledged to, which misleads people to think they are actually voting directly for the candidate.

The way this works today is that a party who successfully qualifies a candidate for the presidential ballot in a particular state must designate the names of the electors to represent them. Typically these are awarded to state and county party faithful in exchange for a written pledge to cast their electoral vote for the party's candidate.

48 of the states award all of their electoral seats to the party/candidate who wins the plurality of votes cast in the state. Two divide the seats proportionally to the vote.

On a day set by Congress (currently in December I think) those electors who are seated according to the results of the vote are supposed to meet, physically, inside the boundaries of their respective states, and cast their electoral ballot. There is supposed to be only one ballot to avoid horse trading at this point in the process.

The state is responsible for certifying this vote and transmitting it to one of the houses of Congress (I think the House but I'm not sure) by the opening of the next session. When Congress reads these votes into the record it becomes official. If there is a tie, the House of Representatives votes to break it.

There have been a few cases of designated electors going "rogue" and actually casting their Electoral College vote contrary to what they pledged to the party that designated them. That's usually a party-career-ending move.

I don't believe the electoral college disenfranchises individual voters the way the popular view seems to believe now. I think it protects the influence of the small-to-medium states' voters. The main result of abolishing the college would be to allow supermajorities in large population centers (states wouldn't matter any more) to override the interests of more widely spread people whose interests may be quite different. If you think the campaigns are too concentrated in a few "swing" areas now, it would be much worse then. Campaign in New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore and Atlanta and you're about done.

Cheers
-Glenn