How does the Electoral College work?

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Electoral college map

By Dimitri Babalis
MI First Election

As election time roles around again, the highly anticipated presidential election is set to be decided in a way that is unique to all voting processes; it will be decided via the Electoral College.

In most general elections, the outcome is decided via a majority vote, meaning whichever option receives the most votes is ultimately the winner.

Majority voting isn’t the only system that is used throughout the American culture. You also have the Borda Count method, the Plurality voting method, and a few others.

However, the United States of America, Presidential election is decided via the Electoral College voting method. Some may ask, what is that?

The U.S. government archives website said, “The Electoral College process consists of the selection of the electors, the meeting of the electors where they vote for President and Vice President, and the counting of the electoral votes by Congress. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the president.”

Each state is worth a different amount of Electoral College votes. For example, states like California, New York, and Texas contain higher votes than smaller populated states like New Mexico and Wyoming.

The state of Michigan will have 16 electoral votes for this upcoming election.

A state is awarded a certain amount of Electoral College votes based on how many members that state has represented throughout the U.S. Congress. It eventually focuses back on however many people populate each state.

After the state votes, the electoral votes are awarded to whichever candidate received the majority of the votes throughout a state.

First-time voter Matt Clabeaux finds the entire process to be an interesting method.

Clabeaux said, “I find it interesting on how you can just assign a state a certain amount of votes as a whole based on the amount of people they have living there.”

Clasbeaux also said, “I just feel like it can lead to a lot of controversy based on how many Electoral College votes a state gets instead of just counting how many people voted for each candidate.”

Our country has seen controversy stirred up by the usage of the Electoral College voting process. First-time voter David Segal remembers a situation where the voting method may have not been the way to decide the winning presidential candidate.

Segal said, “I get its been used for a while, but the first thing I always think of is the Bush-Gore race from 2000 that confused the hell out of a lot of people.”

In that election, Republican George W. Bush had won more electoral votes, even though Democrat Al Gore had received more popular votes.

It came down to the swing state of Florida, which commonly goes back and forth between the two major parties.

At first, Gore was believed to have won the state, but after a recount taking many weeks, Bush was awarded the state victory giving him the amount of Electoral College votes to edge out Gore for the win.

First-time voter AJ Westman doesn’t agree with the way the Electoral College works.

AJ WESTMAN

AJ WESTMAN

Westman said, “If the majority of the people in the country favor one candidate over the other, but then he or she loses the election due to some weird system we developed, that’s just not fair to me.

“Our government is like ‘Oh, yeah, let’s just give this state this much representation and influence in the election, but that state doesn’t have as many people populating our Congress so let’s take some away from them. It’s like deciding which states can sit at the popular table and which ones can’t,” Westman also said.

As soon as the Democratic and Republican candidates are chosen, the country will begin developing theories as to which states will be won by whom.

The United States of America have a unique voting method that is used once every four years, but it always comes down to be one of the most important decisions our country can make.

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