In 2000, then Vice-President Gore defeated then Texas Governor and Republican Presidential nominee George Bush in Maine, 49% to 44%.  But unlike in Iowa and Minnesota where Mr. Gore won by slimmer margins and still captured each of the states’ electoral votes, in Maine he was awarded the support of only six of ten electors.

Having electoral votes awarded to the winner of the statewide popular vote and individually by district—as they are in Maine and Nebraska—started in Maine in 1972 after reformers argued that the winner-take-all system did not accurately represent the choices of voters.  In 1992, Nebraska passed its own amendment to the state constitution and followed suit, though Nebraska’s five electoral votes would never be split until President-elect Obama captured one in 2008.

Click to continue reading “Is the Electoral College Obsolete?”

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On November 7, 2000, American’s waited through the night for their new President-elect to take the podium and his opponent to concede.  As major networks sporadically called the presidential race—first projecting victory for then Vice-President Al Gore, afterward for incumbent Texas Governor George W. Bush, and finally deciding the election too close to call—many of those who resisted weighty eyelids, attempting to witness the future of their country, were confused; after all, Mr. Gore, having tallied nearly 51 million votes, won the popular vote by more than 500,000: why was he not the President-elect?

Unfortunately for Mr. Gore, the United States relies on an electoral college to decide the president, which means finding the winner is not as simple as counting up the total votes for each candidate.  The U.S. Electoral College works like this: when people go to the polls and vote for their favorite candidate, they are voting for their candidate to win the backing of their state.  Whoever garners the most votes in the state—no matter if they get a plurality, a small majority, or every single vote—wins all of the state’s electoral votes.

Click to continue reading “The Electoral College Explained”

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