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Electoral College Activity 13 November 2012 Coke or Pepsi?

Students will discover how the Electoral College works by taking part in a voting activity within the classroom. The students will vote individually for the candidate that they believe to be the best, Coke or Pepsi (Red and Blue). The teacher will collect the ballots with the students names written on them. After the votes are turned in and tallied, the teachers will then divide the students into groups. Students will be divided into six groups of disproportionate numbers. In a classroom of 30 students the groups would include 9 Students, 7 Students, 5 Students, 4 Students, 3 Students, and 2 Students respectively. These groups will have been divided so that the individual votes of students whose candidate did not win will have majority in the groups, so that the teachers can highlight why the system of the Electoral College does not always mimic the popular vote within our country. The hope is that this will be accomplishable and that the popular vote is not a landslide. If there is a landslide vote within the class, the groups will still convene, but as a random group of students. The students will take their individual votes to their respective groups, and cast another vote for their candidate. After the votes are tallied within the groups, they will select a student within their group to act as an Elector and will then send those students to the Electoral College to meet with the other Electors. They will then cast the electoral votes assigned to each group. In a class of 30: Group 1: 9 Students-7 Electoral Votes Group 2: 7 Students-6 Electoral Votes Group 3: 5 Students-5 Electoral Votes Group 4: 4 Students-5 Electoral Votes Group 5: 3 Students-4 Electoral Votes Group 6: 2 Students-3 Electoral Votes As this activity is based off the actual Electoral College system, we have assigned the minimum number of votes that a group will bring to Electoral College as having 3 Votes, in order for the students to be able to criticize the voting process of the Electoral College in terms of understanding the reasoning behind giving every state the same number of votes to start off with, and why larger states will have more Electoral votes.

When the Electoral College has been tallied up, the students whose individual candidate won will receive two pieces of candy, while the students whose individual candidate has lost will receive one piece of candy. Like was stated, the hope of this exercise is that the popular vote will actually trump the Electoral vote in terms of the candidate elected. For each scenario, there will be contingencies of how the voting will take place. The correct math will be worked out so that a class with any number of students will be divided as the teachers see fit, and that the correct number of votes will be given to each of the groups divided in the disproportionate manner. The main points we wish to convey in this exercise is that the individual vote of a person matters to the state, who sends their Electors to the Electoral College, but as history has shown us 3 times in United States history, the popular vote can actually be lost by the candidate who wins the election. Students will formulate their understanding of the Electoral College and gain critical thinking skills through three questions: 1. Is it wrong that a candidate who loses the popular vote can win the Presidential Election? 2. Do you think Big States like California, Texas, and New York have more power, or do smaller states such as Montana, Rhode Island, and Delaware have more power in the election process? 3. Why do you think the Electoral College exists?