Pennsylvania

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ELECTORAL COLLEGE - CHOOSING ELECTORS

The number of Electors from each state equals the number of Members of Congress
Each political party nominates Electors who pledge to vote for the party’s candidate
Electors may not be Members of Congress or employees of the federal government

 

ELECTORAL COLLEGE - HOW IT WORKS

Parties nominate their Electors
Popular vote decides which nominees become Electors
Electors meet in State capitals to vote for the candidate they pledged
Joint session of Congress counts & confirms votes
If no candidate gets 270 votes, House of Representatives chooses - Adams (1824)

 

ELECTORAL COLLEGE - ELECTORS PER STATE

The number of electors is proportional to the state’s population

Census every 10 years determines number of congressional representatives and electors

48 States are winner-take all, Maine and Nebraska can split their electoral votes: 2 to state winner, remainder to district winners.

PA has 20 now (equal to 18 Reps plus 2 Senators), likely to lose one after next census

 

ELECTORAL COLLEGE - ADVANTAGES/DISADVANTAGES - VI, VII, & VIII

Protects small & remote states
    Equalizes importance of low & high population centers
    Campaigns address more regions to get a majority of votes
Addresses broader base of Americans
Reduces potential for corruption - 51 separate elections, not just one

Recounts are easier in close elections

 

Can give individual votes unequal weight
    CA population -  39M, 55 electors - 709 thousand votes per elector
    RI population - 1M, 4 electors - 250 thousand votes per elector
    To achieve equally weighted individual vote, CA would need 156 electors
    PA would need 51 electors to have the same individual clout as RI
Works poorly when there is a very small margin of victory within individual state
Tends to favor a two-party system
Candidates who receive more popular votes can lose the election    

    The Electoral College has chosen differently than the populace four times:
    1876 - Hayes        1888 - Harrison    2000 - G W Bush    2016 - Trump

 

To alter the Electoral College requires a Constitutional Amendment.