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The Electoral College I. Rules of the Game Rule 1 Presidential Electors are chosen by the states in a manner designated by their legislatures. Rule 2 The number of electors is equal to the number of senators and representatives from each state. 23 rd amend grants D.C. 3 electoral votes. (538 total vot es, at least 270 to win) Rule 3 Nearly all states now have a winner take all system, which gives the entire slate of electors to the candidate who gets the most popular votes. Maine and Nebraska, however, choose electors by congressional district rat her than statewide. State victor gets two senate votes. Rule 4 On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, the electors meet in their respective States to cast their votes for President and Vice President of the United States. Rule 5 If a candidate gets a majority of the electoral vote she wins. Rule 6 If no candidate receives a majority the election goes to the House of Representatives to select from the top three candidates. Each state delegation has one vote. Rule 7 The Senate wo uld determine the vice president. They would choose from the top two and vote as individuals. II. Consequences of the Electoral College • Person who wins the popular vote may not win the election 1876 – Samuel Tilden (D) received 250,000 more votes then Rutherford B. Hayes. But Hayes ended up with a one electoral vote victory. 1888 – President Grover Cleveland (D) secured about 100,000 more votes than Benjamin Harrison (R), yet Harrison won a majority of the electoral vote. 2000 – Al Gore (D) receiv ed 500,000 more votes than G. W. Bush – Bush g ot 271 electoral votes and w on the election. 2016 – Hillary Clinton (D) received about 3 million more votes than Donald J. Trump – but Trump won 30 6 electoral votes and the White House. • The problem of the Faithless elector – An elector who decides to cast a vote for a personal choice, not for that of his or her state’s voters. Example In 1988, a West Virginia elector voted for Lloyd Bentsen for pre sident. However, no faithless elector has ever made a difference in the outcome of an election. • Magnifies the popular support of winners – A candidate who wins in many states by a narrow margin can win a “landslide” in the Electoral College . Exampl e In 1992, Clinton’s 43 percent of the popular vote translated into an electoral landslide of 370 votes. (See electoral map on the next page.) Example In 1980, Reagan’s 51% of the popular vote translated into 489 electoral vote s. (See electoral map on the next page.) Example of a Certificate of Ascertainment that documents how electors voted in each state.

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