Author: Dr. Emily Stacey of Rose State College
The Electoral College is a complex concept in American politics that not enough people understand and are familiar with.
The process of choosing electors varies from one state to the next. Additionally, the obligations of electors are different between states. The Electoral College is not well-known by the majority of Americans.
It is crucial that citizens of a democracy that uses the Electoral College process and is responsible for the Popular Vote understand the differences between them. It is important to understand how our presidential elections are decided.
This conversation can be attributed to the importance of taking part in the U.S. Census. It determines representation at a local level (redistricting), as well at the national level (in Congress and the number assigned to a particular state).
Here’s a quick overview of the Electoral College and its functions. This will give students and colleagues a better understanding about American democracy. Happy voting!
The Electoral College: What is it?
The Electoral College is a process and not a place. It was established in the Constitution by the founding fathers as a compromise between the election of the president through a vote in Congress and the election by the popular vote of qualified citizens.
The Electoral College process consists in the selection of electors, their meeting where they vote for the president and vice-president, and the counting of electoral votes by Congress.
Who selects the State Electors
The two-part process of choosing the Electors for each state is called “Electors Selection”.
First, the state political parties choose potential Electors from their respective states before the general election. The political parties in each state control the first part of this process, which varies from one state to the next.
Second, each state’s voters elect their Electors on Election Day by voting for the president. Voting for the presidential candidate of each state is a vote to elect their Electors. The names of potential Electors may or not appear on the ballot under the names of the presidential candidates. This is dependent on the state’s election procedures and ballot formats.
What are the qualifications of electors?
The qualifications of Electors are not covered in the U.S. Constitution.
Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, states that “no Senator or Representative or Person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States shall be appointed an elector.”
Historical matter: The 14th Amendment states that “state officials who have participated in insurrection against the United States, or given aid or comfort to its enemies, are disqualified from serving Electors.” This prohibition applies to the post-Civil War period.
What are the basic components of the Electoral College’s electoral college?
The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors. To elect the President, a majority of 270 electoral votes must be obtained. Your state’s entitled allocation of electors equals its number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member of the House of Representatives and two for your Senators. A few points to note:
Each candidate for the presidency in your state has a different group of electors. The candidate’s party usually chooses the electors, but state laws can vary on how and what the electors are responsible.
Most states have a winner-take-all system, which awards all votes to the winning presidential candidate. Maine and Nebraska have their own versions of proportional representation.
What time and how do the Electors meet to Certify the Vote
The meeting of the electors is held on the Monday following the second Wednesday in December following the presidential election.
The electors meet in the respective states and vote for the president and vice-president on separate ballots.
The state electors’ votes are recorded in a “Certificate Of Vote,” which is prepared during the meeting. Your state’s Certificates are sent to Congress and National Archives as part the official records of this presidential election.
This timeline shows key dates for 2020. It also contains information about the roles of state officials as well as the Congress’s involvement in the Electoral College process.
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