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How The Electoral College Works

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Posted November 10, 2015 by MissShellySays in Politics
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I am seeing continued confusion around the Electoral College and the popular vote, so I’ll do my best to explain how it works.

We live in a REPRESENTATIVE democracy, not a direct one. So, representatives for each state fill our congressional hallways and, yes, the Electoral College. Also important to remember is that the US is made up of STATES, not just individuals. The leader ot the United States is elected by the individual STATES, not individual citizens.

In a Presidential election, each state gets one vote per Senator and House Rep. So at minimum 3, but it could be many more for states with tons of House reps. House reps are awarded proportiallnally based on the census, so the number of electoral votes is roughly proportional to a given states population. California, Texas, and New York get the most cuz they have the most peeps. Got that? Cool. On to the elections….

Most states award ALL their Electoral Votes to the person who gets the most votes in the states. So, whether the win is 51/49 or 80/20 really is irrelevant. It’s winner takes all. If you get 1 more vote than your opponent, you get everything and they get a big fat 0.

So lets say Republicans win Pennsatucky 51/49 and get 25 Electoral votes. And then Democrats win Illisouri 80/20 and get 20 Electoral votes. Well, even though the Democrats large margin means they got more actual votes, at the end of the day a win is a win is a win. So, Republicans get more EC votes by having won a bigger electoral prize, even if only by a small margin.

For this reason, it is totally possible to win the popular vote and not the election, and it doesnt mean the EC has plotted against anyone. The EC has, for the past 200 years, awarded it’s votes to its individual state winners. It has never happened where the EC went against the state’s vote and changed the election outcome. Theoretically it is possible because not every state has laws forcing the EC to vote as the state’s electorate dictates, but most DO HAVE THOSE LAWS and even where they don’t exist it has never become an issue.

So no, the popular vote is not relevant because the election has never been about the popular vote and also never claimed to be. Not ever. It has always been a state-by-state battle. And honestly it is likely that Dems more often win the popular votes because they tend to have large margins of victory in vote-rich states like CA and NY. And yes, your vote absolutely DOES matter no matter what the state because your vote determines who gets the winner-take-all electoral college prize. The focus on “swing states” is purely based their unpredictability, not based on the fact that somehow their votes “count more”. Everyone counts the same.

I hope this helps. Godspeed.


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