If the electoral college votes in US states are based on population, how can a presidential candidate win the popular vote, but lose the electoral college vote? The electoral college votes are based on the number of senators (2 for each state) plus the number of representatives (roughly one for every 500,000 people) per state. Thus Florida has 27 Electors (2 for the senators and 25 for the c13million population). Each state (and the District of Columbia) is guaranteed at least three Electors however small it is (2 senators and 1 representative) so Wyoming which has a population of 453,000 gets the same number of electors as say Nebrasksa with 800,000. It would therefore pay to wrap up the small states as they would deliver more Electors per head of population, but in practice it is easier to concentrate on the biggest states such as California, New York, Texas etc as you\’d get more Elector votes per campaign dollar spent. How about a directly elected president? Electoral College votes are awarded (in all but 2 states) on \”a winner takes all\” principle. Consequently, a candidate may lose a state in a very close race and get NO electoral votes, while win overwhelmingly in another state. Suppose there are only three states each with 10 electoral votes: State 1: 1 million for A; 900,000 for B. State 2: 1 million for A; 900,000 for B. State 3: 100,000 for A; 1,800,00 for B. A wins with 20 electoral votes, although B has has over a million more popular votes.
It\’s quite simple, Mr Bush. The margins in the states that you won were small and the margins in the states that you lost were large. In addition, there seems to have been something decidedly dodgy going on with the ballot in Florida. Perhaps the UN should supervise future elections in the USA to ensure a fair result. There\’s no guarantee, as indeed there isn\’t in the UK either, that a majority of the popular vote will win the election. It all comes down to the relationship between the margin of victory in the states where a candidate wins, and the margin of defeat in the states lost. The electoral college votes for a particular state have historically all gone to the winning candidate, irrespective of the margin of victory in the popular vote; there\’s no prorating of the electoral college votes to reflect the narrowness of the victory. Consequently, winning by a narrow margin, and losing by a big margin, could result in the majority vote winner losing the election. Indeed, a quick look at the popular votes in the current US election will confirm that Al Gore will almost certainly have more votes nationally than George Bush, irrespective of who wins. Incidentally, there seems to be no constitutional obligation on the electoral college members to follow the popular vote at all. If a very slight majority of the electorate in, say, Florida, votes for George Bush, there\’s nothing, constitutionally, to prevent any or indeed all of the electoral college voters from voting for Al Gore, or indeed, Mickey Mouse, if that\’s their fancy.
Thus the world\’s greatest democracy is, in fact, in the hands of a politburo of 500+ individuals who can elect who they like. Essentially, the reason is that (in most states) all of the electoral college votes for a state are given to the \”winner\” in that state. Consider a simplified example with two candidates and two states. If candidate A has a majority in the larger state and candidate B a larger majority in the smaller state, then A will get more electoral college votes, although B had more votes overall. The electoral college allocation is changed periodically to reflect changes in population. A state with a population swollen by recent immigration would still retain the number of electoral college votes it held from the last election. Similarly a state could have more electoral college votes than its population warranted if it had experienced a decline in population since the last election. Either situation would result in a skewed election. Incidentally, I think many people would take issue with Brian Harrison\’s description of the USA as the \”world\’s greatest democracy\”. Assuming he means \”populous\”, I would have thought that was India. The same way you can win a tennis match despite losing more games: eg, 7-6; 7-6; 0-6; 06; 7-6. Thirty games, two sets and defeat. Twenty one games, three sets and the match.
The only difference is that in tennis you don\’\’t get supporters of the loser saying that the rules should be retroactively changed. To win ALL of the electoral votes for a state, a candidate only needs to get the majority of the popular vote in that state. So, if a candidate won a bunch of states with only a very slim lead in each, all those states\’ electoral votes would go to him (or her), causing all the votes for the other candidate in those states to not matter at all. This chart explains it quite well:
http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Image:PopWinnerLosesElecVote. png
Electoral votes of the candidate that won in 1824: one of several from the Due to multiple candidates from the same party in the 1824 election (and the party being the only major party at the time), this chart only shows the electoral votes of the winning candidate, even though he did not receive a plurality of the electoral votes and the election was decided in the. * Adams received only 1 of Delaware\’s 3 electoral votes in the 1824 election. в Adams received only 1 of Illinois\’s 3 electoral votes in the 1824 election. в Adams received only 2 of Louisiana\’s 5 electoral votes in the 1824 election. в Adams received only 3 of Maryland\’s 11 electoral votes in the 1824 election. в Adams received only 1 of New Hampshire\’s 8 electoral votes in 1820 and all 8 in 1824. # Adams received only 26 of New York\’s 36 electoral votes in the 1824 election.