Mar 30, 2009, 8:45 AM
electoral process in
It is to be noted that under the U.S. Constitution winning the votes of the people (the popular vote) does not automatically give a ticket to the White House.
to the U.S. Constitution, the President of the
electors shall then meet in their respective states at such time and on such
day as congress decides, in order to vote by ballot for two persons one of whom
at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state as themselves. The
Electoral College shall then make a list of all the persons voted for, and of
the number of votes for each. They shall sign and certify the list and transmit
it sealed to the seat of government (currently
The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President if such number be majority of the whole number of electors appointed. Where no presidential candidate receives electoral majority a further procedure is adopted including immediate ballot by the House of Representatives from the two or three highest on the list.
point to note is that any candidate who has more votes in any state wins all
the electoral votes in that State (Winner takes all). This explains why
candidates mostly concentrate campaign time and resources in states with
comparatively larger electoral votes states like
is the importance of the popular vote if it cannot on its own take a candidate
to the White House? One explanation is that it is found that electoral votes
usually follow a similar trend as the popular vote. Furthermore, the popular
vote gives a sure indication of a President's popular following, and helps
identify who is a majority or a minority President. A minority President is one
receiving less than 50% of all the popular votes For real examples; in 1960
Democrat John F Kennedy ended the race as a minority president because
34,221,531 represented less than 50% of overall votes that year. But he won by
electoral vote of 303 against his next rival Richard M. Nixon who polled 219.
In 1948 Harry S. Truman, another Democrat, got 24,105,695 popular voters while
his three rivals scored a total of 24,294,294 between them. His electoral vote
of 303 against 189 of his nearest rival made him President although a minority
President on the basis of his lower popular votes. One striking result was in
the election of 1916 when Rutherford Hayes, a Republican, got only 4,036,298 of
the popular votes against Democrat Samuel J. Tilden who captured 4,300,590 of
the votes. But he got a single electoral vote over his Democratic rival 185 to
184 and won the election though as a minority President. Basic figures are
taken from 'Historical Statistics of the
So the present electoral process goes on and the final outcome wont be known for another few weeks depending on the date set by Congress for meeting of the Electoral college. The terms of the current President and vice-president shall, according to Constitution end at on 20thJanuary, and the four-year terms of their successors shall then begin. Who will it be; Obama or Maccain?
"Democracy substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few."
George Bernard Shaw