- What is the Electoral College?
The Electoral College is the important and often controversial process by which the United States selects the President of the United States every four years. The founding fathers created the Electoral College system as a compromise between having the president elected by Congress and having the president elected by the popular vote of qualified citizens.
- Why do we have an Electoral College and why was it considered necessary?
Though occasionally maligned, this system of electing a chief executive has been incredibly successful for the American people. Electors, appointed by the states, are pledged to support the presidential candidate the voters have supported.
- What is the official procedure for presidential elections? Illustrate an approximate timeline of key events in any given presidential election year.
The Presidential election process follows a typical cycle:
- Spring of the year before an election – Candidates announce their intentions to run.
- Summer of the year before an election through spring of the election year – Primary and caucus debates take place.
- January to June of election year – States and parties hold primaries and caucuses.
- July to early September – Parties hold nominating conventions to choose their candidates.
- September and October – Candidates participate in Presidential debates.
- Early November – Election Day
- December – Electors cast their votes in the Electoral College.
- Early January of the next calendar year – Congress counts the electoral votes.
- January 20 – Inauguration Day
- Is it possible for a president to win the popular vote but lose the election? How?
There are 538 total votes in the Electoral College and a presidential candidate must win a majority—270—electoral votes to be elected. Since 11 of the 12 states in the chart above account for exactly 270 votes, a candidate could win these states, lose the other 39, and still be elected.
- Who were the candidates in the 2000 election and what happened?
In 2000, there was a total of 538 electoral votes available with 270 needed to win. Republican George W. Bush, with 50,456,002 popular votes won 271 electoral votes. His Democratic opponent, Al Gore, won the popular vote with 50,999,897 votes but won only 266 electoral votes. Bush was elected president.
- How was the Supreme court involved?
- In every presidential election, the media will announce the new President and Vice President by the morning after election day; however, when is the President and Vice-President actually elected?
The Electoral College electors then formally cast their electoral votes on the first Monday after December 12 at their respective state capitals. Congress then certify the results in early January, and the presidential term begins on Inauguration Day, which since the passage of the Twentieth Amendment has been set at January 20.
- What does it mean to “concede?”
If you concede something, you admit that it is true, proper, or certain––usually in an unwilling way and often in the context of a competition.
- Why did Al Gore retract his concession?
In a televised speech from his ceremonial office next to the White House, Gore said that while he was deeply disappointed and sharply disagreed with the Supreme Court verdict that ended his campaign, ”partisan rancor must now be put aside.” “I accept the finality of the outcome, which will be ratified next Monday in the Electoral College” he said. “And tonight, for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, I offer my concession.”
- Why would a machine recount of Florida’s ballots tally a slightly different number than the first time? How was this a threat to the Bush campaign?
The ballots were counted differently each time, due to problems with the hole punchers, therefore were they invalid. This was a threat to Bush’s campaign, as he could lose the possibility to become president.
- Why did the Democrats initiate a hand recount?
- What trend did the Democrats discover about old voting machines and the neighborhoods they
- What did the Democrats discover about voters being turned away from the polls?
- Did the Republicans actively try to stop a hand recount? Why?
- What issues did officials encounter with the hand recount?
- Why did the Republicans want to count absentee ballots?
- Are absentee ballots usually counted on Election Day?