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The Electoral College

When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they couldnt decide how the president should be elected.
Some wanted direct election of the president

Others wanted indirect election

They came up with a compromise:

The Electoral College

What Is It?
Its a system of presidential elections where:
The people dont vote directly for the president True voting is done by a group of state selected people called electors

Electors are chosen by each state and are given the final say in which candidate gets a states votes
Electors are supposed to vote for the candidate with the majority of the popular vote This system is supposed to make sure ordinary people have a say, but the final decision is made by more informed voters

How Is a President Elected?


There are 538 electoral votes total
A candidate needs 270 to win the election

Each state is given electoral votes based on how many senators and congressmen it has
Illinois has 20 electoral votes: 2 senators and 18 congressmen Washington D.C.?

Problems with Electoral College?


A lot of people advocate for the end of the electoral college system and a shift to a popular vote.

Why?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wC42HgLA4k&feature=fvwrel

Why Use the Electoral College?


Even though there are a lot of arguments against the Electoral College, the United States continues to use it

BUT WHY?

1. Distribution of Support
If elections were based solely on a popular vote, where would the majority votes come from?
Makes sure ALL regions of the country have a say Forces candidates to cater to more than one region and unify interests across state lines

2. Promotes Minority Participation


A system of popular vote would drown out minority voices
Minority groups can really make the difference between winning a states votes or not
They concentrate in states with a lot of electoral votes, so they can take on special importance

3. Promotes Political Stability


Because the Electoral College is winner take-all, it encourages a two-party system
Electoral College provides major parties incentives to absorb smaller party interests to win more popular majorities
We end up with two large, political parties that are more moderate than a system of multiple, more radical parties

4. Helps Maintain Powers of the States


The Electoral College was designed to represent every states presidential choice
Electoral votes are based on the number of a states senators plus its congressmen
The Founding Fathers wanted state populations to be more important to presidential elections than the national population at large

Sources
http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/I NFORMATION/electcollege_procon.php http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/art icles/news_and_politics/view_from_chicag o/2012/11/121112_VFC_electoral.jpg.CRO P.rectangle3-large.jpg