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Elections and the Electoral College

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Senate

  • Originally chosen by State Legislatures
  • Now elected by popular vote (17th Amendment, 1913)

President

  • Date of beginning of term--20th Amendment (1933)
  • Electoral College compromise

Electoral College

  • Number per state--Representatives + 2
  • Appointment of electors
    • Initially by legislatures
  • Now by popular vote
  • Counting of votes in Congress
    • Top vote getter is President
  • #2 is Vice President
  • Procedure if no majority--house picks
    • One vote per state

12th Amendment (1804)

  • Problems
    • Adams and Jefferson in 1796
    • Jefferson and Burr in 1800
  • Solution
    • Each elector votes for a President and a Vice President

Electoral College Problems

  • History of electoral vs. popular Vote
    • 1824--Jackson and John Q Adams
      • Jackson won popular vote
      • The "Corrupt Bargain"
    • 1876--Tildon and Hayes
      • Tildon won popular vote
      • Disputed votes to Hayes
    • 1888--Cleveland and Hayes
      • Cleveland won popular vote
      • Hayes won electoral vote
    • 200--Gore and Bush
  • Winner-Take-All
    • Close elections become landslides
    • 3rd parties disadvantaged

Electoral College Today

  • 538 electors
  • 23rd Amendment gave D.C. 3 electors (1960)
  • 270 to win
  • Why not abolish it?
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . factpetersen. (2007, October 19). Elections and the Electoral College. Retrieved January 08, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/university-studies/u-s-institutions/elections-and-the-electoral-college.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License