Monday, November 5, 2012
7 News Features: Electoral College
The election is just days away, and millions across the country are getting ready to cast their vote for president. But did you know your not really voting for a candidate? Your voting for a member of the electoral college.
It was established by our founding fathers who were afraid there would be chaos if Americans had to choose among a large group of candidates.
So they set up this indirect way for people to choose a President.
Here is how it works:
When you vote for Mitt Romney or Barack Obama, you're actually voting for a group of Democratic or Republican electors who are chosen by their political party to serve in the electoral college.
In practically every state, the candidate who wins the vote of the people receives all the electoral college votes for that state.
So even if a candidate wins a state by only one vote, he will get all of the electoral votes for that state.
That's why the pros who run campaigns plan their strategies state by state.
Every state in the country has a different amount of electoral votes based on the number of representatives and senators in congress.
Florida has 27 representatives in congress and two senators, so Florida has 29 electoral college votes.
We are tied with New York in third place with the highest number of electoral votes in the country.
In total there are 538 electoral votes. A candidate must get a majority to win, and that magic number is 270.
If no one gets a majority, the House of Representatives decides who becomes President.
And keep in mind just because someone wins the popular vote it doesn't mean they will be President.
In 2000, the majority of Americans voted for vice president Al Gore, but George W. Bush had more electoral votes and was declared the winner by the U.S. Supreme court.
And every four years there are those saying the electoral college should be abolished or at least reworked, so that its vote mirrors the popular vote, but to date that still hasn't happened.