How Does The Electoral Vote Work ?
In the US, when it comes to electing the president of the country, the voting system follows an indirect method. Though people vote for the presidential and the vice presidential candidates, they are basically instructing their electors who to vote for. The people's vote is the popular vote, while the electors' vote is the electoral vote that goes on to make the Electoral College.
When elections started in the US, the Founding Fathers not only wanted to allow the people to elect their president, they also wished for the Congress to have its say in the electoral process. During those days, no party was nation wide. Rather the parties were regional in nature and this was worrying as regional parties could join hands together and elect one of their candidates for the president. On the other hand, there was fear that if just the Congress was responsible for choosing the president, then there were possibilities that the Congress would favor one candidate over another. So, to ensure free and fair elections where no presidential candidate was favored, the Electoral College came into existence. In this system, the people first cast their votes for the presidential candidate they want. Thereafter, the electors cast their vote taking into account who the people voted for.
The number of electors in each state varies as the number is determined based on the population of the state, the number of senators and also the representatives. In the Electoral College, there are 538 electors in total. Out of these 535 electors come from the various states of the US, while there are 3 electors from Washington, DC.
Initially, the popular vote is cast. This occurs on first Tuesday of November. In the US, presidential elections take place every four years. Once the people have voted, their votes are tallied to see who has won the popular vote. Thereafter, in the month of December, the electors from the Electoral College begin their voting process. The electors vote and then it is sealed and sent to the president of the Senate. On January 6th, the president opens the sealed votes and the results are read out. The presidential candidate who wins a minimum of 270 votes is declared the president.
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