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Transcript

The Electoral College

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Educate American voters about the electoral process

Create the rules for Presidential Elections

A

C

B

Elect the President and Vice President

The purpose of the Electoral College is to...

1

A

C

B

How many electors are there in all?

50

538

270

2

A

C

B

How many votes does a candidate need to win the Electoral College?

538

450

270

3

A

C

B

Which of these presidents lost the popular vote, but won the Electoral College?

Abraham Lincoln

Donald Trump

Barack Obama

4

A

C

B

How is a state's number of electoral votes determined?

2 Senators + # of Representatives = Electoral votes

state's population divided by 5 = electoral votes

All states get the same number of Electoral Votes

5

A

B

With the Electoral College Presidents are elected by the people...

Directly - popular vote

Indirectly - Electoral Vote

6

A

C

B

Who places the actual vote for President?

Members of Congress

The People

Electors

7

A

C

B

Which two states split up the electors between candidates?

Utah & New Mexico

Maine and Nebraska

Texas & Georgia

8

A

B

Most states use this method to award their electoral votes...

Congressional District System

Winner Takes All System

9

A

C

B

What is the nickname for states that do not consistently vote for the same political party each election?

Red State

Tug of War State

Swing State

10

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How are electoral votes determined by state?

REd and Blue States? Swing States?

Some states tend to vote more consistently with one party or the other, and because electoral votes matter most, this can determine how a candidate chooses to campaign. If a state tends to vote Republican, it is considered a “red” state. A “blue” state tends to vote for the Democratic party. Some states are also known for having pretty close outcomes and may go “red” or “blue”. Those states are called “purple” (because red and blue make purple) or swing states (because they could be won by either party).Ultimately, it’s up to the candidate and their campaign team to decide which states to target and how. Swing states may get a lot of attention, and states that are considered safe (like Utah) may less attention from Presidential Candidates.

Maine & Nebraska use a different system in awarding their state's electoral votes. Every state is divided up into congressional districts (there is one representative in the House of Representatives for each district). In this system, an electoral vote is awarded to whoever won the popular vote in a district. A candidate could win one district/electoral vote, and another wins 2 other districts/electoral votes. Both states also award twoelectoral votes to whichever candidate wins the state’s popular vote overall.

Congressional District System

Most states, except for Nebraska and Maine use a "winner-takes-all" system. This means that whoever wins the popular vote in a state gets all of that state's electoral votes. Under this system, even if a candidate wins by a slim margin (like just 30 votes), they get all of the electoral votes for that state. Someone could get 49% of a state's popular vote, but no electoral votes.

Winner Takes All System

Above is a map of Nebraska in the 2020 election. In most other states, Donald Trump would have received all 5 of the state's electoral votes, but they award their votes based on Congressional Districts. Because of this, Donald Trump got 4 of Nebraska's votes (2 district votes + 2 statewide votes) and Joe Biden got 1 Electoral vote.

Popular vs. Electoral Vote

Which matters more?

Electoral College votes won’t always tell you who won the popular vote nationwide. If you’re wondering what that means or why it might be confusing, here’s why: A candidate who the majority of Americans did not vote for can win the presidency. How? By winning enough states—adding up to at least 270 electoral votes. It doesn’t really matter if one candidate is more “popular” among Americans overall. What matters is if enough Americans in the right combination of states vote for that candidate. Five times, the presidency has been awarded to a candidate who did not win the national popular vote (1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016). In the end, it’s electoral votes and not total votes that matter

Lost the popular vote by...

543,895

254,694

2,868,686

89,293

Still became president!

After watching this video, could you describe the electoral college? What are electors? How does someone win the electoral college? Why do some states have more votes than others?

  • Democracy should function on the will of the people, allowing one vote per adult.
  • It can ignore the will of the people. It is possible to lose the popular vote, but get enough electoral votes to become president.
  • Makes it difficult for 3rd party candidates to be successful.

Cons of Electoral College

  • The Electoral College ensures that that all parts of the country are involved in selecting the President of the United States not just the most populated states.
  • It forces presidential candidates to campaign in all parts of the country.
  • Simplifies candidate choices between the two major political parties (Democrat & Republican).

Pros of Electoral College

VS