The founding fathers of the United States established the Electoral College to dictate the process that appoints the president of the country. This means that the Electoral College is a unique process that prevents bonafide citizens and Congress from electing the nation’s president. Every state has its allotment of voters (also known as electors). The college is comprised of 538 electors. The winning candidate must get a majority of 270 electoral votes (Sheppard 4). This discussion, therefore, gives a detailed description of the United States’ presidential election process.
The Electoral College System
The electors in each state are allotted in accordance with the number of House of Representatives and senators. This means that there is one elector for each representative and two for every senator. Two steps are usually undertaken to select the targeted electors in each state. The first process is usually controlled by the involved political parties. The parties select their electors based on factors such as dedication, loyalty, and service to the party. The second step takes place during Election Day. The voters in a state will definitely select the electors. The appointed state’s electors are “the ones of the winning presidential candidate” (Hansford and Gomez 276). However, the process is different for the states of Maine and Nebraska. In these states, the winner gets two electors. The “winner of the congressional district receives one elector” (Richman et al. 151).
The American Constitution does not have provisions to dictate how the electors vote. However, the individuals might be bound by their parties or state laws to vote in a specific manner. During the presidential election, citizens vote for their favorite presidential candidates (Sheppard 4). By so doing, the citizens help to select the candidates’ voters.
The majority of the states have a unique system whereby the presidential winner gets all the Electoral College votes. Governors in the states prepare “a Certificate of Ascertainment after the election of the president” (Sheppard 7). The purpose of this document is to list the presidential candidates and their electors. The presidential election usually takes place after four years. This Election Day is on the first Tuesday of November. The Electoral College voters then meet in December of the election year. The “electors meet on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the Election Day to vote” (Richman et al. 155). The votes are eventually counted in a Congress Session on the sixth day of January of the following year.
As mentioned earlier, the elected candidate must garner 270 Electoral College votes in order to become the president. The Constitution stipulates that the House of Representatives has the mandate to elect the president if no candidate gets 270 votes. The first three candidates who received more votes are considered during the election process. Each representative is allotted a single vote (Richman et al. 155). Similarly, the Senate is entitled to elect the country’s Vice President. If the House of Representatives does not elect a president before the inauguration date, the Vice President (VP) acts as the United States’ head until the stalemate is addressed.
The common consensus among many Americans is that the founding fathers of the nation were geniuses. They came up with an ingenious method of electing the country’s president (Neale 14). Many experts believe strongly that the Electoral College is a powerful process that prevents American citizens from electing authoritarian or oppressive rulers. In conclusion, the Electoral College remains an outstanding process that safeguards the nation from any form of demagoguery.
Hansford, Thomas, and Brad Gomez. “Estimating the Electoral Effects of Voter Turnout.” American Political Science Review, vol. 104, no. 2, 2010, pp. 268-288.
Neale, Thomas. “The Electoral College: How it Works in Contemporary Presidential Elections.” Congressional Research Service, vol. 1, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1-17.
Richman, Jesse, et al. “Do Non-Citizens Vote in U.S. Elections?” Electoral Studies, vol. 36, no. 1, 2014, pp. 149-157.
Sheppard, Stephen. “ A Case for the Electoral Colleges and for Its Faithless Elector.” Wisconsin Law Review Online, vol. 1, no. 1, 2015, pp. 1-11.