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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Flying 6 days before the election

What is the electoral college and why should you care about it? Americans elect the President and Vice-president through a method of indirect popular election. On November 4, 2008, voters cast their ballots for a presidential candidate. However, votes actually count towards a group of electors who pledge to vote for a specific candidate when the Electoral College meets in December.

The "Electoral College" is the unofficial term coined in the 1800s for the group of citizens selected by the people to cast votes for President and Vice President.The presidential/vice-presidential pair who wins the popular vote in any given state receives all* of the state's number of Electoral College votes.

A state's number of electoral votes equals the number of the state's Congressional delegation [the number of U.S. Senators (always 2) PLUS the number of U.S. Representatives.] The District of Columbia receives three electoral votes, as determined by the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution.

Still confused? Maybe this will help. If a Democratic presidential candidate receives the most votes in Texas, the 34 Democratic electors become the voting block representing the Lone Star state. Therefore, the Democratic presidential candidate receives 34 of the 538 total votes in the Electoral College. The winner of the 2008 Presidential Election is the candidate who collects 270 votes, the majority.

In the end, the winner of the race is the candidate who receives a majority (270) of the 538 Electoral College votes. The results of the 2008 election won't be official until the President of the Senate counts the votes out loud at a special joint session of Congress held on January 6, 2009. There have been FIVE times in our history that the candidate receiving a plurality of the popular vote did not become president. Previous instances include the elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, and of course 2000.

We should all remember 2000. Gore won the popular vote but lost the presidency to George W. Bush. He lost because Bush won a majority of the electoral votes, which are allocated to the winner of the popular vote in each state. Gore took the national vote because he received an excess of support in California, New York and other large, heavily Democratic states.

GO VOTE, DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN. I do not care which candidate you choose, just vote. Let your voice be heard.

Vote and read more about the Electoral college at or


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