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Happy Wednesday!  Today is September 29, 2011. As you come in: Get your warm up sheet from Ms. J and fill in the correct information for today Write down your HW Make sure you have a pencil (sharpened), notebook, and your HW notes WARM UP :

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happy wednesday today is september 29 2011
Happy Wednesday! Today is September 29, 2011
  • As you come in:
    • Get your warm up sheet from Ms. J and fill in the correct information for today
    • Write down your HW
    • Make sure you have a pencil (sharpened), notebook, and your HW notes


What do you think legendary football coach Vince Lombardi meant when he said, “Finishing first is not everything, it is the only thing.” How might this apply to politics?

  • The Electoral College was created at the Constitutional Convention by the Founding Fathers; it is uniquely American with representatives of each state who cast final ballots for president
  • It was the last of many plans adopted in 1787 in Philadelphia
    • Result of compromise between those who wanted congressional selection and those for popular direct election
constructed to
Constructed to…
  • Work without political parties (factions)
  • Cover both nominating and electing phases of presidential selection
  • Produce a nonpartisan president
major changes through the years
Major Changes Through the Years
  • Originally no distinction for vote of president and vice-president; each elector given two votes (election of 1800—Jefferson v Burr)
  • 12th Amendment-1804-Separated the candidacy of the President and the Vice-President
  • Popular election of electors in the 1820’s & 30’s
other problem elections
Other problem elections
  • 1824: JQ Adams nor A. Jackson secured majority of electoral votes; election goes to House (although Jackson had more popular votes, Adams wins)
  • 1876: Hayes v. Tilden; House decides for Hayes with 250,000 popular votes fewer
  • 1888: Cleveland v. Harrison; Harrison has 100,000 less popular votes
the mechanics
The Mechanics
  • The Presidential Election should be viewed as 51 separate elections each with a “winner take all” system
  • To win a candidate must get a majority of 538 votes or 270
  • Each state is represented in the EC according to their total number of members of Congress (based on reapportionment numbers from the US Census)
the mechanics cont d
The Mechanics Cont’d
  • Kentucky has 2 senators and 6 representatives. This means that Kentucky has 8 electoral votes
  • California, the most populous state, has two senators and 52 representatives. This gives California 54 electoral votes
  • Wyoming, the least populous state, has two senators and 1 representative. This gives Wyoming 3 electoral votes
the mechanics cont d1
The Mechanics Cont’d
  • The total electoral vote of 538 is based on 100 senators, 435 representatives for the 50 states. The 23rd Amendment gave Washington, DC 3 electoral votes
  • The candidates compete in 50 states and DC for electoral votes and the winner must have at least 270
  • The Electoral College always works best when there are only two candidates
the mechanics cont d2
The Mechanics Cont’d
  • If there are more than two candidates, the system might not work
  • If the system does not work, the House elects the President and the Senate elects the Vice-President. This has not happened since 1876.
what the individual vote means
What the Individual Vote Means
  • Individual votes count only in the state where they are cast
  • When all states have voted, the candidate with the most votes in each state gets all the electoral votes of that state
  • In December, following the November Election, the winning electors in each state go to their respective state capitals and cast their votes and send them to Congress
electoral college delegates
Electoral College Delegates
  • The delegates are chosen by the political parties in each state
  • Historically, the delegates have been 99.9% loyal to their party
  • After the combined votes in 50 states and DC are counted by a joint session of Congress, the election is official
disadvantages of the electoral college system
Disadvantages of the Electoral College System
  • Complex
  • The person with the most votes may not win
  • Hindrance to third parties:
    • Party members can get a lot of popular votes, but no electoral votes unless they carry a state
    • Because they don’t often win electoral votes, its hard to fundraise, gain other campaign resources
  • Preserves the federal system-winning individual states is important. Without the EC, state lines mean nothing
  • Preserves the two party system (tradition)
  • Keeps our politics moderate-extreme parties have little chance of winning any state
  • Protects minorities-they form the balance of power in most states and can’t be ignored.
  • Without the EC, one could develop a program just for the white urban middle class and win.
  • The system is not likely to change because of the difficulty of amending the Constitution
  • No good solution to an alternative yet
frq 2007
FRQ (2007)

A significant feature of the electoral college is that states have a winner-take-all feature.

  • Describe the winner-take-all feature of the electoral college
  • Explain one way in which the w-t-a feature of the electoral college effects how presidential candidates from the two major parties run their campaigns
  • Explain one way in which the w-t-a feature hinders third parties.
  • Explain two reasons why the electoral college has not been abolished.