Posted by Womomma on 12:03 PM

Of course we all learned the basics of the Electoral System in elementary school, then in middle school, and then in high school. If you were like me, yes, of course you understood it but it wasn't that meaningful or was just an indirect way of electing the President that seemed relatively fair. But, then if your candidate did well or worse by the system suddenly you got more interested in it.

So here they are:

  • When we vote, we vote for the electors for our candidate, not the candidate him/herself
  • Electors for each state are calculated by 2 (the two senators for each state) and the number of congressmen (representing the population of the state) plus 3 for the District of Columbia...essentially 100, plus the number of congressmen plus 3 for the District of Columbia (100 + 435 + 3 = 538)
  • Most states have a "winner take all" system where whichever candidate has a majority wins all of the electors for the state with the exception of Maine and Nebraska which use a combination of statewide majority and congressional district majority to select it's electors (which could split the vote as it appears to be doing in Nebraska's second congressional district in the 2008 election)
  • On the Monday after the second Wednesday in December -- after the election) the 2008 electors will meet in each state to vote for the presidential candidate on December 15Th
  • These results are sent to the President of the Senate (the sitting Vice President), certified and placed in special mahogany boxes
  • On January 6Th after the electoral college meets, there is a joint session of congress where the votes are counted and the winner is declared
  • If there is a tie, the HOUSE then votes (one vote per state) for the top three electoral vote earners, one must win 26 votes to be declared the winner. Voting continues until the majority is achieved
  • If there is a tie for Vice President the SENATE votes for the top two electoral vote earners and each senator has a vote and a majority of 51 must be achieved.
  • Read Wikipedia on this topic

There is a lot of history and logic and reasoning surrounding this process from our early architects of our governmental and voting systems. I will be researching and publishing the pros and cons and history of this over the next several blog posts.

I'm not an expert on voting issues by any means but I'm interested. It's taken until my middle age to become fascinated by our electoral and voting process. In the 2000 election the candidate I supported won the popular vote by a few votes and yet lost the election electorally, made me sit up and starting thinking about the electoral process. Although my candidate this time around, Barack Obama, won handily in the popular vote all throughout the fall I was grateful for the apparent electoral victory that he would win if all went according to predictions, even when the popular vote appeared to be quite close. I lived on the home page of Nate Silver's website/blog: for dialy reassurance (and even then I wasn't happy until all the networks were flashing their final projections of Obama's victory at 11:01 PM Eastern time.

So this blog is an excuse for me to explore the voting issues that I'm interested in:

  • The Electoral College: it's history, purpose and value in today's world
  • Voter Register: what's the deal here and shouldn't every eligible voter be registered?
  • Voter Fraud: although this feels like almost too huge an area, I know there is lots of talk about it and some data. I'd just like to know more about it.

I hope it will be useful to others as well. So, here goes...let's see what I find out!