During the heated and dramatic election of 2016, Donald Trump lost the popular vote in the presidential election by a record-breaking three million votes. According to the United States House of Representatives, Five times a candidate has won the popular vote and lost the election. Andrew Jackson in 1824 (to John Quincy Adams); Samuel Tilden in 1876 (to Rutherford B.
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Hayes); Grover Cleveland in 1888 (to Benjamin Harrison); Al Gore in 2000 (to George W. Bush); Hillary Clinton in 2016 (to Donald J. Trump). (Electoral College Fast Facts). Whether or not you are a fan of President Trump, it is unfortunately clear that everyday citizens votes do not hold much power. The Electoral College is an unfair way of deciding the next president. To better understand the issue of the Electoral College, we will discuss what it is including the definition and its purpose, as well as its history.
It is important to note first that the Electoral College is a process and not a place. According to Merriam and Webster, the definition of Electoral College is, a body of people representing the states of the US, who formally cast votes for the election of the president and vice president. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). Each of the people in this body is referred to as an elector. While many people believe that when they cast their vote in a presidential election, they are directly determining who will become president, they are actually determining which electors will participate in voting for the president.
In the Electoral College process, electors are nominated and selected for each presidential candidate. These electors are usually hand-picked by the candidates themselves, or by high ranking officials in the candidater’s political party. Each state sends one elector for each senator and congress-person from that state. For instance, the state of Iowa always sends six electors to the Electoral College. There are 538 total electors in each presidential election. A candidate needs to receive a majority vote of least 270 electoral votes to win office. In most states, the candidate that gets the majority of votes gets to send all of their electors to the Electoral College. This is referred to as all or nothing. Only two states divides the electors based upon the proportion of the vote that each candidate won.
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