Paper Government

Topics: President of the United States, Electoral College, Washington, D.C. Pages: 6 (1382 words) Published: November 20, 2014
PFC Rockwell, Kenneth Norman
13Oct08

Term Paper: Government 2301 (The Electoral College)

The Electoral College is an established system the United States government utilizes in order to elect the new president and vice-president for the country. This system is a model of indirectly voting for the executive branch of government. The Electoral College system was established in Article II of the Constitution and amended by the 12th Amendment in 1804 (About.com).

The electors are chosen by the state to cast their votes on who should be president. When a citizen votes on a ballot for who they think should be president, they are actually voting for an elector who has pledged to vote for the candidate the voter has chosen. Ultimately, the decision is in the elector’s hands however, as they are the ones casting the vote on who should become the next leader for our country. All but two of the states in the U.S. run a “winner take all” fashion for how they distribute their Electoral College votes. The two states who do not operate in this manner are Maine and Nebraska, who set their electoral votes according to congressional district (Department of State, Michigan).

The framers of the Constitution sought out to prevent “tyranny of the majority” and to seek a non-mob yet democratic approach to electing its next leaders. A possible reason for this method of electing the president could have been a fear of majority voting during the time. If swayed by nationalistic pride to vote for a candidate who had no real governmental scope or understanding of the responsibilities associated with the position, unfit presidents could emerge that could change the framework of America. This fear may have spurred a consensus to limit real mob rule and to put the trust in state chosen electors who understood the political scheme during each individual time period (Archives.gov).

Another reason may have been the foresight of a vast nation being born with large numbers of people and states. Since the Louisiana Purchase added land which encompasses 15 U.S. states currently, the framers might have predicted expansionistic possibilities with future presidents at seat. This possibility might have meant too many outcomes with third person parties and too many ballots to count from so many regions. An established product came out of it, which we use today to select our president. (Wikipedia).

Selecting an elector is state based in our country. The two most common ways are the elector is nominated by his or her state party committee or the elector “campaigns” for a spot and the decision is done at the party convention for the state. The established qualifications for an elector are vague, though the constitution dictates what the elector cannot be. One is not being a representative in the house or a senator in the senate. Two is not being a high-ranking U.S. official in a position of “trust or profit”. Three is someone who has not “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the U.S. The main qualifications for who should be electors though, are done on a case by case basis (HowStuffWorks).

The number of electors currently in the United States number 538 which means a majority vote of 270 has to be reached for the office of president or vice-president. If no candidate for president has won a majority of the electoral votes, the choice is sent over to the House of Representatives. Alternatively, if no candidate for vice-president has won a majority of the electoral votes, the choice is given to the Senate. There are two types of votes which are counted during the election, the popular vote and the electoral vote. The popular vote lets you know number wise how the candidate faired during the election whereas the electoral vote is the number of votes in the Electoral College system. This method of electing our highest government officials has a possibility of not choosing the popular vote winner in elections (Wikipedia).

Case in point, this...
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