What is the Electoral College?

By | October 30, 2016

It’s odd that I had to write three different articles about the presidential election before I came up with the idea of  doing an article about this. We always hear about how important our vote is but at the same time, if you were around in 2000 when it was Bush vs. Gore, we also know that our votes don’t count. Gore won the popular vote but the electoral vote (which is the only one that matters) determined that Bush was the winner.

So what is the Electoral College anyways? And why do they get to determine the presidency?

Originally, I thought that the Electoral College was just some conspiracy by the Founding Fathers to take most of the decision-making away from the plebeians because we aren’t educated or of the proper background to decide who runs the country. Now I’m realizing the Electoral College seems to be more of a relic of the pre-Federalist “United” States. It’s a way to have the elections be a state-oriented process without it being completely federal. At least, that’s how I interpret it.

But I’m getting off-topic. WTF is the electoral college? I always thought it was a group, but it’s more like a process.  In the run up to the election, each state chooses its electors. The amount of electors a state receives is equivalent to the amount of senators and representatives in Congress. All electors then submit their votes according to whoever won the popular vote. So if the popular vote was 70% for Person A, Person A receives 100% of the electoral votes. If it’s 51%, they still receive 100% of the votes.

I always thought that the electors are chosen and they can vote however they want. It’s pretty much a token role with no real power. They’re actually obligated to vote according to the results of the popular vote and not doing so is an act of electoral faithlessness. In some states, this is a crime.

If you look at the results, the electoral votes fall directly in line with the popular votes. The reason why Gore lost the 2000 election (let’s pretend Florida didn’t happen) was because the amount of electoral votes just happened to be in Bush’s favor.

Now that I know this, this pretty much kills the conspiracy that I had regarding Bush and his CIA cronies doing some kind of blackmail job on those folks in the electoral college during the 1980 presidential election. But that’s what this blog is all about, learning new things and realizing how ignorant I can be.

 

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