Electoral College - What Is It, Different Types, Process, Examples (2000 Election)

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The United States of America, a country that is a federal constitutional republic. A country where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people. These officials are elected in by the delegates whom they are elected by the people and this is Electoral College. Although Electoral College may be controversial, In the end it is the best system for the election process.

Electoral College is the election of the president and vice president by electors. These electors are chosen by that elector's state. Each state differs in the way electors are chosen and each state has different amounts of electoral votes. Each state legislature is free to determine how it selects its electors. These electors are expected to cast their electoral votes for the party's candidates for president and vice president. Now This may sound unfair to all the voters who want to vote for the candidates, but instead they leave it up to the delegates that were elected.

In the entire history, the term "faithless elector", who is an elector that doesn't not vote for his or her state's popular voter winner has rarely happened. The electors then go to their state capital and cast their ballots. The ballots are sent to Congress and it is formally counted and declares who the winner is for president and vice president.

Now that was the basic idea of Electoral College, the whole process of electing delegates involves many different methods. Well first Presidential candidates will start campaigning, to get their name out to the people. Next comes the presidential primaries and caucuses. The primary elections are run by state and local governments, while caucuses are private events run by the political parties. A state primary election usually is an indirect election: instead of voters directly selecting a particular person running for president, it determines how many delegates to each party's national convention each candidate will receive from that state. Many states, only voters registered with a party may vote in that party's primary, known as a closed primary. In a closed primary, voters on Election Day must choose one political party's ballot. Only Democratic candidates are found on the Democratic ballot. Republican candidates are found on the Republican ballot. Voters must choose only one ballot. In some states, a semi-closed primary is practiced, in which voters unaffiliated with a party may choose a party primary in which to vote. In an open primary, any voter may vote in any party's primary. In all of these systems, a voter may participate in only one primary; that is, a voter who casts a vote for a candidate standing for the Republican nomination for president cannot cast a vote for a candidate standing for the Democratic nomination, or vice versa. A few states once staged a blanket primary, in which voters could vote for one candidate in multiple primaries, but the practice was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2000 case of California Democratic Party v. Jones as violating the freedom of assembly guaranteed by the First Amendment freedom of association. Unlike most convention delegates, the super delegates are not selected based on the party primaries and caucuses in each U.S. state, in which voters choose among candidates for the party's presidential nomination. Instead, most of the super delegates are seated automatically, based solely on their status as current or former party leaders and elected officials.

Each state differs in the amount of electoral votes it gives. Each state has as many electors as it has representatives and senators, California has fifty-five electoral votes, while seven other states only have three electoral votes each. To decide how these states use their votes they use these methods. Proportional representation allows the delegates that are at the national convention are allocated on the basis of the percentage of votes candidates win in the primary. This system has been used in most of the states. The Democrats mandate proportional representation for all their primaries. The Winner take all method is whichever candidate gets the most votes wins all that states delegates or the share of delegates from each congressional district. Republicans still use the winner take all system. In 2008 John McCain received all the delegates' votes from California which helped him out a lot. Delegate selection without a commitment to a candidate involves New York Republicans allowing the state committee to select twelve at large delegates who are officially unpledged, as are the party chair and national committee representatives. Then there is delegate selection and separate presidential poll where in several states, voters decide twice: once to indicate their choice for president and again to choose delegates pledged to a presidential candidate.

That was all Presidential Primaries, now there is also Caucuses and Conventions. This involves a meeting of party members and supporters of various candidates who may elect state or national convention delegates, who in turn voter for the presidential nominee. This is the oldest method of choosing delegates.

After all the Delegates are elected, they then go to the National Party Convention. The delegates elected in primaries caucuses or state conventions assemble at their national party convention in the summer before the electionIn summer pick the party's presidential and vice presidential candidates.

In most presidential elections, a candidate who wins the popular vote will also receive the majority of the electoral votes, but this is not always the case. The election in 1824 between John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. John Quincy Adams received more than 38,000 fewer votes than Andrew Jackson, but neither candidate won a majority of the Electoral College. Adams was awarded the presidency when the election was thrown to the House of Representatives. The election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden in 1876. Rutherford received support from small states by a one-vote margin in the Electoral College, even though he lost the popular vote to Tilden by 264,000 votes. Hayes got five out of the six smallest states. These states and Colorado gave Hayes 22 electoral votes with only 109,000 popular votes. At the time, Colorado had been just been admitted to the Union and decided to appoint electors instead of holding elections. So, Hayes won Colorado's three electoral votes with zero popular votes. It was the only time in U.S. history that small state support has decided an election.

This leads to the controversial 2000 election. Between Texas Governor George W. Bush the candidate of the Republican Party, and Vice President and Al Gore the Democratic Party contender. The presidential race in Florida was too close to call. At around 8 PM Eastern Standard Time, news organizations projected Gore as the winner of Florida, but a couple of hours later, they retracted that call and said the state was still undecided. Shortly after 2 AM, the major networks declared Bush the winner, and Gore called the governor to concede the election. But as Gore prepared to address his supporters in Nashville, Tennessee, Bush's margin in Florida began to shrink. About an hour later, it was obvious that the final tally in the state would be close. It was less than one-half of one percent and this would trigger a state law requiring a re-count. The presidential election was still undecided the next day. Gore had barely won the national popular vote, but since Florida was undecided, neither candidate had the 270 electoral votes necessary to win. Gore had 266 electoral votes, and Bush had 246. Whoever won Florida would win the presidency. Both campaigns sent teams of lawyers to the state. Gore attorneys investigated reports of irregularities that raised questions about the fairness of the election. Many of the disputes revolved around secret, but legally critical, technical flaws in the voting process. In Palm Beach County, there was a confusing two-page "butterfly ballot" that had names down the left and right sides with punch holes in the middle. It resulted in about 19,000 people selecting more than one presidential candidate. It also gave ultraconservative presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan several thousand votes in an area that is generally liberal and likely to vote Democratic. In other areas throughout Florida. Democratic lawyers believed that re-counting those ballots by hand might show which candidate the voters intended to choose. They thought that it might show many voters who intended to choose Gore. The machine re-count cut Bush's lead to 327 votes. On November 9, the Gore campaign asked election officials for hand re-counts in four counties; Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia. The Bush campaign asked a federal court in Miami to block the re-counts. The Bush team argued that manual re-counts were unfair because they used a subjective standard unlike the automated machine re-counts. State law required that counties declare official election results within seven days of the election. The re-counts would not be finished by the deadline. In the end Bush had won the election to become the 43rd president of the United States, receiving 271 electoral votes to Gore's 266. However, Gore won the national popular vote by more than 500,000 votes out of 105 million cast.

During and after the 2000 election disagreement, some Americans argued that the Electoral College system should be abolished. They did not feel that it was fair that a presidential candidate could win the national popular vote and still lose the election. With the Electoral College small and midsize states have a louder voice in selecting a President. The Electoral College enhances the status of minority interests, contributes to the political stability of the nation by encouraging a two-party system, and maintains a federal system of government and representation.

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