2007 Free Response #1. Joe Morra. Question . A significant feature of the electoral college is that most states have a winner take all system Describe the winner take all feature of the electoral college.
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If a state has the winner take all feature that means that whoever wins the state gets all of the state's electoral votes.
So a candidate may take a state by only a fraction more than 50% of the vote, but all of the electoral college votes from that state will go to that candidate.
This is one factor that allows some candidates to win the presidency even if they lose the national popular vote by a small margin.
If they have won enough electoral college votes (the ones that count in determining the winner) by a small enough margin, then they can overtake their opponent who might have won more popular votes from states with fewer electoral votes at stake.
If a candidate is aware that they are in the lead, they will know to continue what they are doing and give them more time to start working on new campaigning ideas.
Also, because they know they are well-liked/supported, they know they will be able to introduce almost anything into the policy agenda later should they be elected.
However if a candidate knows that they are behind, they may either not try as hard because they know they have no chance.
A lot of the time, candidates put less effort into the states with votes rather then the bigger states with more votes.
The third party runners usually get substantially less votes than the other two parties, therefore when they lose, they lose by a landslide because their votes are then shifted to the winners.
They basically stand no chance unless they get the majority of the votes.
Doing away with the electoral college entirely would have some unforeseen effects.
If we relied just on the popular vote, there would have to be a runoff election among the two leading candidates if neither got a majority because third party candidates won a lot of the votes.
This would encourage the formation of third parties.
The other reason is the electoral college serves a larger purpose: it makes candidates worry about carrying states as well as popular votes, and so it heightens the influence of states in national politics.