What is the United States Electoral College?
Scores so far:
Give your answer and identify your closest political affiliation.
Each question is left in the default category the system chooses.
Since a lot of questions will be overlooked, it's come to my attention the scores should be the correct fraction of each team's answers rather than their total number of correct answers. I have made this adjustment.
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
A Constitutionally (ART2 and the 12th Amendment use the term Elector, not Electoral College, but it's the same, the college part just indicates it as a group, and though used as early as the 1800's, the term didn't get written into Law until 1845) mandated system where each State chooses individuals, usually Party leaders and dignitaries, to choose the President. States have decided to base the vote on the popular vote, however, only roughly half of the States hold their electors to the popular vote candidate...
The EC is a system that insures fairness in the vote for smaller, less populous States, and also as originally intended, it allows for an informed vote... however, as the States have chosen to utilize the popular vote as a means of choosing the Electors, that has been inhibited.
The Constitution does not mandate a popular vote for the 2 highest Offices in our Representative Republic, but, it is the States that have chosen that method, so, if a discrepancy, or Constitutional Issue were to arise when the EC vote is counted (this year, 8January) the 20th Amendment would be enforced, there would not be another popular election, as there is actually no right or guarantee to that in the Constitution.
Changes have been proposed throughout History to the EC system, but have never been ratified, as would be necessary to Amend the Constitution.
I am an Independent, as I feel voting for the best person is more important than voting a party line, but I am extremely right leaning, so most assume I am a Republican... I am not a dem, and not even near a lib.
Guess who I did not vote for...
EDIT: To correct and clarify the important dates, I will take this directly from the EC site, NARA, the National Archives, who are involved in the process.
November 4, 2008 - General Election: The voters in each State choose electors to serve in the Electoral College. As soon as election results are final, the States prepare seven or nine original "Certificates of Ascertainment" of the electors chosen, and send one original along with two certified copies (or three originals, if nine were prepared) to the Archivist of the United States.
December 15, 2008 - Meeting of Electors: The electors in each State meet to select the President and Vice President of the United States. The electors record their votes on six "Certificates of Vote," which are paired with the six remaining original "Certificates of Ascertainment." The electors sign, seal and certify the packages of electoral votes and immediately send them to the President of the Senate, the Archivist of the United States and other designated Federal and State officials.
December 24, 2008 - Deadline for Receipt of Electoral Votes: The President of the Senate, the Archivist of the United States, and other designated Federal and State officials must have the electoral votes in hand.
January 8, 2009 - Counting Electoral Votes in Congress: Public Law 110-430 changed the date of the electoral vote in Congress in 2009 from January 6 to January 8. This date change is effective only for the 2008 presidential election.
The Congress meets in joint session to count the electoral votes (unless Congress passes a law to change the date).Source(s): http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral... I find that the horses mouth is usually better than a blog, and almost always more accurate than a wiki.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
larebil_srotiart and Paula: Thank you for taking the time to be thorough with this. I never do. I try not to copy and paste but to make it simple enough to explain and still give a valid answer. It is amazing how many time a day this issues comes up.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
The Electoral College official announcement is not until January 12 of the year following the elections (i.e., for the elections November 2, 2008, it will be January 12, 2009), assuming no court challenges are still in process.
In part, and ignoring what happens if there is a tie vote; Federal law sets the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as the day for holding federal elections.
The manner for choosing electors is determined within each state by its legislature. Currently, all states choose electors by popular election on the date specified by federal law. While many people may believe they are voting for their presidential candidate, they are in actuality casting their vote for that candidate's electors.
Forty eight states, and Washington, D.C., employ the winner-takes-all method, each awarding its presidential electors as a single bloc. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, select one elector within each congressional district by popular vote, and additionally select the remaining two electors by the aggregate, statewide popular vote. This method has been used in Maine since 1972, and in Nebraska since 1992.
Electors chosen on Election Day meet in their respective state capitals (or in the case of Washington, D.C., within the District) on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, at which time they cast their electoral votes on separate ballots for President and Vice President. In 2008, that meeting will be on December 15.
When the time for balloting arrives, the electors choose one or two people to act as tellers. Some states provide for the placing in nomination of a candidate to receive the electoral votes (the candidate for President of the political party of the Electors). Each elector submits a written ballot with the name of a candidate for President. In Newsey, the electors cast ballots by checking the name of the candidate on a pre-printed card; in North Carolina, the electors write the name of the candidate on a blank card. The tellers count the ballots and announce the result. The next step is the casting of the vote for Vice President, which follows a similar pattern.
After the voting is complete, the electors complete the Certificate of Vote. This document states the number of electoral votes cast for President and Vice President, and who received those votes. The state election official usually has pre-printed forms ready, and the tellers usually only write down the number of votes cast for appropriate candidates. Five copies of the Certificate of Vote are completed and signed by each Elector. Multiple copies of the Certificate of Vote are signed, in order to provide multiple originals in case one is lost. One copy is sent to President of the U.S. Senate (the sitting Vice President of the United States) by certified mail.
A staff member of the Office of the Vice President (here, acting in his capacity as President of the Senate) collects the Certificates of Vote as they arrive and prepares them for the joint session of Congress. The Certificates are arranged—unopened—in alphabetical order and placed in two special mahogany boxes. Alabama through Mississippi (including Washington. D.C.) are placed in one box, and Montana through Wyoming are placed in the other box.
The Twelfth Amendment mandates that the Congress assemble in joint session. Additionally, federal law mandates that such joint session to count the electoral votes and declare the winners of the election take place on the sixth day of January in the calendar year immediately following the meetings of the presidential electors. The meeting is held at 1:00 p.m. in the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. The sitting Vice President is expected to preside, but in several cases the President pro tempore of the Senate has chaired the proceedings instead. The Vice President and the Speaker of the House sit at the podium, with the Vice President in the seat of the Speaker of the House. Senate pages bring in the two mahogany boxes containing each state's certified vote and place them on tables in front of the Senators and Representatives. Each house appoints two tellers to count the vote. Relevant portions of the Certificate of Vote are read for each state, in alphabetical order. If there are no objections, the presiding officer declares the result of the vote and, if applicable, states who is elected President and Vice President. The Senators then depart from the House Chamber.
It would be hard to do away with electoral college for two interrelated reasons.
One, if there were a "direct popular vote" system, then a dozen or so large urban areas would be sufficient to elect the President (so presidential candidates would curry favor from those few large urban areas and ignore the remainder of the States/people).
Second to have a "direct popular vote" system you would have to amend the Constitution, whi