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Americans will cast their votes in the US election on Tuesday, November 3, choosing between incumbent President Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden. The presidential election in the US is not determined by the popular vote, but instead, the candidate is elected by members of the electoral college. Express.co.uk has everything you need to known about the process.
When does the electoral college vote?
On election day, which this year is on November 3, voters in each state will select their members of the electoral college.
Then, on December 8, the “Deadline of Resolving Election Disputes” takes place.
All state recounts and court contests over the US presidential election results must be completed by this date.
A few days later, on December 14, electors in each state will meet and cast their ballots for president and vice president.
Each elector votes on their own ballot and signs it, and the ballots are then transmitted to various people, including the president of the US senate, the state’s secretary of state, the National Archives and Records Administration, and the presiding judge in the district where the electors meet.
The deadline for receipt of ballots are on December 23, when each ballots from all states must have been received by the president of the Senate.
In the new year, on January 6, 2021, the US Congress will meet in joint session to count the electoral votes.
Finally, on January 20, 2021, the Inauguration Day takes place and the candidate with the most votes from the electoral college becomes the President of the US.
How was the electoral college created?
In 1804, the Twelfth Amendment to the US Constitution made sure that electors designate their votes for president and vice president.
The founders thought the use of electors would give the US a representative president, while avoiding a corruptible national election.
The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 report that: “[T]he members of the General Convention…did indulge the hope [that] by apportioning, limiting, and confining the Electors within their respective States, and by the guarded manner of giving and transmitting the ballots of the Electors to the Seat of Government, that intrigue, combination, and corruption, would be effectually shut out, and a free and pure election of the president of the United States made perpetual.”
Electoral college definition: What is it and how does it work? [EXPLAINER]
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How the US Election result could play out in the Electoral College [ANALYSIS]
According to the US Library of Congress (LOC), initially, “electors cast votes for candidates without designating whether they were voting for president or vice president”.
It added: “The flaws in this system became evident in 1800 when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes. It took the House 36 votes before the tie was broken and Jefferson took office as president.”
In the event that no candidate for one or both of these offices wins an absolute majority of votes in the electoral college, a contingent election will be the next procedure.
A continent election is decided by a vote of the US House of Representatives, while a contingent election for the vice president is decided by a vote of the US Senate.
US presidential election are indirect election in which voters do not choose between candidates for an office, but elect members of the electoral college who then choose.
The electoral college is the formal body which elects the US president and vice president.
The college is established in Article II, Section 1 of the US Constitution.
Whoever wins the most electoral college votes in a state will be rewarded all of the votes.
So if a candidate wins just over 50 percent of the vote in a state, they will receive 100 percent of the votes.
That means the US president is not directly elected by citizens by a so-called popular vote.
In 2016, Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by almost 2.9 million votes, but still lost the electoral college.
The presidential elections of 1876, 1888, 2000 and 2016 represent the five elections where an electoral college winner did not receive the most votes in the election.
How are the members of the electoral college chosen?
There are 538 members of the US electoral college in total, and the political parties in each state nominate their electors.
Parties and states have different ways of doing this, but a party’s presidential electors are generally trusted party members.
Each elector represent one electoral vote, so to win, a US presidential candidate needs 270 or more to win the election.
If a majority of voters in a state vote for the Republican candidate, the Republican slate of electors is elected.
The number of electors from each state is roughly in line with the size of it population.
California is the most populated state and there has the most electors – 55.
In smaller states, such as Alaska and Wyoming, they have a minimum of three.
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