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What’s behind the Electoral College?

Guess what? The Electoral College decides who the president will be, not the popular vote.

However- The Electoral College is not a person, place, or thing but a process. Your vote still holds power, according to The Electoral College website..

Dr. Priscilla Southwell, Professor of Political Science at the University of Oregon gave her speech, “The Electoral College: History, Controversy, & How it Affects the 2016 Election,” October 5th at COCC, which was full of useful information on the Electoral College.

The founding fathers established the Electoral College in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the president by a vote in Congress and election of the president by a popular vote of qualified citizens.

This process takes part in two steps- the first step happens at the state party convention, where each political party selects their slate of electors.

The second step takes place on election day. Oregon Law Chapter 248.360 section 2 states:

“The names of the electors shall not be printed on the general election ballot. A vote for the candidates for President and Vice President shall be a vote for the electors supporting those candidates and selected as provided by law. The general election ballot shall state that electors of President and Vice President are being elected and that a vote for the candidates for President and Vice President shall be a vote for the electors supporting those candidates.”

The Electoral College is not set in stone but the outcome depends upon the individual’s vote. Electors do not have to vote a specific way but according to Oregon Law Chapter 248.355 section 2:

“A candidate for elector when selected shall sign a pledge that, if elected, the candidate will vote in the electoral college for the candidates of the party for President and Vice President.”  

Twenty-nine out of 50 states require electors to vote by way of the state’s popular vote. Oregon is among those 29. Depending on Oregon’s majority vote winner, said candidate’s chosen electors will then go cast their electoral vote.

To become president, candidates have to win states. It’s the goal of every candidate to win any combination of states to earn at least 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. It’s how many states are won overall, not how many votes you score.

According to Mark Gerzon, a writer for The Huffington Post:

“The four largest states in America are: California (38,332,521), Texas (26,448,193), Collegia (20,000,000), New York (19,651,127).”

Collegia represents the voting power of all eligible voters attending a collegiate institution.

David Burstein, founder of Run for America, said “We have the greatest potential political power but we also have the most to lose. …Our collective voices can disrupt and change our failing system—and we can’t allow this opportunity to pass us by.”

Madeleine Doubek, Reboot Illinois administrator, stated “Your vote is your voice. It’s one of the most valuable, powerful things you own. Use it. Let’s grow our representative government for good. Go vote!”

 

Bobbie Towery | The Broadside

Contact: btowery@cocc.edu

 

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