0 votes

Someone please explain why any of this matters...

Call it ignorance.. but if the presidential election is decided by the electoral colleges... isn't his all a moot point?

The debates... the polls... the election... all of it. Isn't it just a sham to make the 'voting public' feel like they have a say in who becomes president?

I've never gotten the full story of the electoral vote but I know that you can't be president without it. The public campaign is little more than a dog-and-pony show (very expensive one) to introduce personalities to the voters but they don't actually get to pick who sits in the white house, do they?

C'mon.. Someone smarter than me give us an answer.

Let's nail down this 'electoral college' thing once and for all.

Trending on the Web

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Electoral College: How does it work and what is it's history?

Hey all... I posted the comments below in another forum, but I'm curious to know more about the history of the electoral process in each of the states....does any know any good resources or have any additional information ? Thanks!

#1 - Our country was based on a Constitutional Republic, NOT a direct democracy. The elections were based on the same principle wherein electors were selected to decide who to vote for based on their wisdom and with discretion.

#2 - Before the 12th amendment, each elector had one vote for president and the candidate with the second most votes would be Vice President. After the 12th amendment, each elector had one vote for President and one for Vice President.

#3 - The rules for determining the electors differ for each state. Political parties (Democrat/ Republican/ Libertarian etc..) nominate their electors before the election. Sometimes nominations occur during the primaries or the party conventions. The electors from the party with the most popular votes on Election Day become the electors of the state. There are 538 electors, corresponding to the # of seats in the House and Senate. There are 3 extra electors from Washington DC.

#4 - So-called 'faithless' electors have voted and are described in Wikipedia. Unfortunately those that are deemed 'faithless' in my opinion are actually upholding their Constitutional duty to decide who they individually believe to be the best candidate.

For example in the early stages of our nation, if wise electors chosen by their respective states voted and Ron Paul obtained the most votes and Dennis Kucinich got the second most votes we would have had Ron Paul a Republican as President and Dennis Kucinich a Democrat as Vice President. Now what happened between the elections during the early stages of our nation and 2008? I'm not sure. I would like to know. Why was the President and Vice President linked together along party lines and when did this occur? The states must have independently determined the process of nominating their electors and nowadays they have electors along party lines that 'pledge' their vote based on popular vote. When did this happen and why? I would like to know.

The average person today complains that he/she would like a direct democracy wherein the candidate with the most votes from the public wins. The average American has been brought up in what I believe to be establishment propaganda. A direct democracy is not what our founding fathers intended. That is also why there is a mis-use of the term 'democracy'. Madison called a direct democracy a 'mobocracy' and detested this form of government.

You have to ask yourself why are so many people ignorant about the process? You can ask a professor, a CEO or a millionaire and you would probably get the same level of ignorance about our electoral process. Why is that? Why is our civics education so poor? Why is the mainstream media so ignorant? Why are we a nation of sheep?

Excerpt from Ron Paul speech:
At the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia on September 18, 1787, a Mrs. Powel anxiously awaited the results and as Benjamin Franklin emerged from the long task now finished asked him directly, `Well, Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?'

`A republic, if you can keep it,' responded Franklin.


9-11 Media Fakery: Did anyone die on 9-11?


9-11 Actors:

Pysops.. media.. actors.. propagandists... disinfo agents.. fake videos.. fake photos

Thanks to all who participated. I think I have a better handle..

..on it now.

You are all correct. We are deliberately kept in the dark about these issues. Many of us are just learning about the political process now. This isn't taught in school or anywhere else. The longer we remain ignorant of how our system works the longer we will be slaves to it.

I may not know the truth, but I know when I'm being lied to...

I may not know the truth, but I know when I'm being lied to...


... for being a great thread!

The answers below sum it up pretty well

but I'll throw in my two cents.

Most of the problems with the Electoral College come from people not understanding what it is. Also, they do not understand how the President is elected, and why that method was chosen by the founders. These same people usually also have no idea of the nature of the structure of the Union, nor the difference between a Democracy and a Republic, and which one the United States is supposed to be and why.

As you can see, ignorance of just a few interrelated issues makes understanding the whole process almost impossible.

If you want to understand it better, or explain it to someone else, research or cover the topics I just listed in reverse order. It will become VERY clear.

I think many of the problems we see today are precisely due to this ignorance. We aren't doing it right because we don't understand it. We don't like the results, because we don't understand what it is we are supposed to be doing and why.

Several reforms may be in order to help this process along:

1) Electors should be chosen individually rather than as a slate. It should be a specific race. People should campaign for it, or be nominated for it. The idea is that the people on election day will choose three electors instead of one large slate. They will vote for one person to represent their Congressional District, and two at-large. Whomever wins each seat (or the top two in the case of at-large) become electors. This makes each elector more responsive to the needs of the people who selected them. Electors should be chosen on the basis of how well they understand the issues.

2) The race should not initially be WHO an elector supports for president. In fact, they should be able to vote for WHOMEVER they want, but most likely based on the issues their voters chose them for. This would actually eliminate presidential campaigns. It wasn't until the early 1900s that people actually 'ran' for the Presidency. Before that, people were supported by their party, and they accepted the support, but they didn't actually campaign. Eventually, or maybe from the start, the presidential race wouldn't actually begin until the electors are chosen, and then any campaigning would be only to the electors, not the general public. This should knock some serious wind out of the money issue with campaign finance impropriety.

3) We should repeal the 12th amendment. For starters, combined with #1 and #2 this would open up the office to more people, and if the race goes to the House, they have more to choose from. Also, by making the winner the President and the #2 vote getter the VP, you restore the purpose of the VP. His job according to the Constitution is to Preside over the Senate - not just when there might be a tie vote, but ALL THE TIME. If the VP is the closest contender to the President for the office, he is more likely to take this role of running the Senate more seriously. Additionally, by actually doing his Constitutionally mandated job, the Senate may well run better as well as serving as a check against a 'one party state.' This is an important check and balance built into the Constitution that has as far as I know, yet to function properly with any consistency. (most likely because people don't even realize its potential)

4)In combination with the others, if it doesn't happen naturally, there should be a de-emphasis on parties. ANYONE should be eligible to the office, not just those nominated by a party. Taking 'party' control over the 'accepted' contenders out of the equation opens the choices for the electors up dramatically. Just think if electors were not bound to vote for McCain or Obama, but could vote for Romney, Huckabee, Paul, or Clinton, Bloomberg, Nader, etc.? While the 'parties' might officially support one person, there would assuredly be people who remained in support of other contenders. Those people would still be available to receive electoral votes.


While all of these goals are achievable without any legislative changes or constitutional amendments, it would take DECADES of education if it were at all possible. Most likely, at least one state needs to institute the reforms, and push for the repeal of amendment 12 to get the ball rolling. Any takers on picking a state and making it happen?

This might also be a good time to introduce range preference voting. States could utilize this system for electors, and see how it works. Another possibility is for people to petition for certain issues to be placed on the ballot. If those issue 'win' in a district and/or state, then the elector may be bound to case his vote based on those issues. (that might be a mess we don't need, but an idea to ponder)

Some of the Best Ideas

I have heard regarding election reform in a long time...

Excellent ideas, all of them

- -
Get your own "Ron Paul for Treasury Secretary" or "Nothing Changes 1-20-09 / Vote Third Party" sticker, designed by AlaskaRon, today!


Read it and weap


Hear are the key lines:

"The Electoral College consists of 538 popularly elected representatives who formally select the President and Vice President of the United States"

"Each state uses its statewide popular vote on Election Day to appoint electors."

"Each state is allocated as many electors as it has Representatives and Senators in the United States Congress.[16][17] Since the most populous states have the most seats in the House of Representatives, they also have the most electors. The six states with the most electors are California (55), Texas (34), New York (31), Florida (27), Illinois (21) and Pennsylvania (21). "

"Currently, all states choose electors by popular election on the date specified by federal law. While many people may believe they are voting for their presidential candidate, they are in actuality casting their vote for that candidate's electors."

"Forty eight states, and Washington, D.C., employ the winner-takes-all method, each awarding its presidential electors as a single bloc."

"A faithless elector is one who casts an electoral vote for someone other than whom they have pledged to elect, or who refuses to vote for any candidate. There are laws to punish faithless electors in 24 states."

"As electoral slates are typically chosen by the political party or the party's presidential nominee, electors usually have high loyalty to the party and its candidate: a faithless elector runs a greater risk of party censure than criminal charges."

"The system as designed would rarely produce a winner, thus sending the election to Congress. On these facts, scholars have described the intended role of the Electoral College as simply a body who would nominate candidates from which the Congress would then select a President and Vice President."

"The current system of choosing presidential electors is called the short ballot. In all states, voters choose among slates of candidates for the associated elector; only a few states list the names of the presidential electors on the ballot. In some states, if a voter wishes to write in a candidate for president, the voter also is required to write-in the names of candidates for elector."

"Pursuant to the Twelfth Amendment, the House of Representatives is required to go into session immediately to vote for President if no candidate for President receives a majority (270 votes) of the 538 electoral votes.

In this event, the House of Representatives is limited to choosing from among the three candidates who received the most electoral votes. Each state delegation has a single vote. To be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of state votes (currently 26) in order for that candidate to become the President-elect."

This is why Ron Paul tried to get delegates...I think.

True. Delegates to state conventions vote for the electors

So if we'd had the most delegates, we would have been able to choose the electors.

- -
Get your own "Ron Paul for Treasury Secretary" or "Nothing Changes 1-20-09 / Vote Third Party" sticker, designed by AlaskaRon, today!


The Powers That Be in your state Republican party

control who becomes electors in the state---So we must become the Powers that Be in our state parties---and influence the popular vote for a constitutional minded candidate.

Control the vote

CITIES are controling the Electoral College, Thanks to ORGs like ACORN....YOU are paying for your own demise or diminished voter power...REGISTER people of like mindedness....OVERCOME the odds....LIKE Obamma is doing....

If we went to a popular vote, then

about 10-15 of the largest cities would control the vote. Certainly the largest states would. Which would render irrelevant everyone else.

We are a Union of States. The government created by the Constitution is for that Union, not to govern directly over the people. (it was never intended to at least, to the degree it does, it is overstepping its authority) That is why it should be the States, and not the People, who pick the President.

The President is the Chief Executive of the Union, not over the people. Governors are the proper chief executives responsible directly to the people.

But then aren't we subject to the same jerrymandering and fraud.

..as we were during the primaries?

I may not know the truth, but I know when I'm being lied to...

I may not know the truth, but I know when I'm being lied to...


Great explanation, Sam.

- -
Get your own "Ron Paul for Treasury Secretary" or "Nothing Changes 1-20-09 / Vote Third Party" sticker, designed by AlaskaRon, today!


Let me post this again...

I started a thread yesterday with this, but got no responses to it....hope this helps you understand our BS system and why we're all screwed:

Fellow DPers, I was emailed the following link and thought that there may be some of us here who still don't quite understand how our electoral system works, with electors, the electoral college, etc. The page at this link explains all in fair detail. After reading this, I now understand how there could NEVER be a fair election in this country, given the rules stated. What a farse! Read here:

As for me and my home, we will be buying ammo!

Silence isn't always golden....sometimes it's yellow.

"The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them." - Patrick Henry

Not There Anymore...


Electorial College


From Wicapedia:

The Electoral College consists of 538 popularly elected representatives who formally select the President and Vice President of the United States.[1] The Electoral College is an example of an indirect election.

Rather than directly voting for the President and Vice President, United States citizens cast votes for electors. Electors are technically free to vote for anyone eligible to be President, but in practice pledge to vote for specific candidates[2] and voters cast ballots for favored presidential and vice presidential candidates by voting for correspondingly pledged electors.[3] Most states allow voters to choose between statewide slates of electors pledged to vote for the presidential and vice presidential tickets of various parties; the ticket that receives the most votes statewide 'wins' all of the votes cast by electors from that state. U.S. presidential campaigns concentrate on winning the popular vote in a combination of states that choose a majority of the electors, rather than campaigning to win the most votes nationally.


the way it currently works in every state

Fortune Favors the Bold

Is that the parties on the ballot are represented by an elector of their choosing, chosen at the state party convention. The vote in each state is for a party, to send their elector to the college. Although theoretically an individual state could change the rules by which it sends electors, the process has been codified by separate federal election law (which is probably unconstitutional, but is the law nevertheless)

Fortune Favors the Bold

Legislatures Rule

The President of the United States is elected by Electors who are chosen by the legislatures of the several States. Because democracy is America's civil religion, each State has decided to allocate Electors on the basis of a popular vote, but no such vote is mandated or required by the federal Constitution. If Ohio wants to select Electors by lottery and Nevada prefers armed combat and Alaska prefers dog sled race, the people of these States have no other recourse than to vote for new legislators. Or suck it up and acknowledge the authority of the Constitution.

Sorry CommieLiberals, George W. did not "steal" Florida's Electors in 2000, the Florida Legislature gave them to him.

The Freedom Formula: Au + Ag + Cu + Pb

dynamite anthrax supreme court white house tea party jihad
West of 89
a novel of another america

Best explanation yet

Most folks don't realize that for the longest time (I'm thinking maybe 80-100 years or so) most of the country did not vote on the same day, and election day was on any day the states chose, usually from April to October. Since going to the same day, we have lost the idea that STATES choose the President. States' sovereignty has all but disappeared, which is why most people are so clueless about the electoral college.

I think we ought to expand on the different ways states could choose electors:
Minnesotans could have a lumber-felling competition.
Wisconsin could have a cheese-tasting.
In Iowa, it could be hog-judging.
California could choose theirs based on most plastic surgery among the electors.
New York could have a barrel race over Niagra Falls.

etc. etc.

I hate Bush as much as anyone, and have from before day one, but I have always defended the outcome of that election as having been proper.

- -
Get your own "Ron Paul for Treasury Secretary" or "Nothing Changes 1-20-09 / Vote Third Party" sticker, designed by AlaskaRon, today!


awesome reply.

nice. Armed combat and dogsled race.

There is one restriction: No state may operate a monarchy. Constitutional or otherwise.

are you for real? The

are you for real? The electoral vote is decided by the citizen vote and is bound by law.

You mean just like the delegates were bound at the convention?

And yes, I am for real...

I may not know the truth, but I know when I'm being lied to...

I may not know the truth, but I know when I'm being lied to...