By Erin Asis/Staff writer/@erin_asis
Founded on the ideas of balancing state power and federal government in 1788, the Electoral College has been around to settle the score during some close elections, the most well-known being the 2000 election with Al Gore and George Bush. During this election, the country waited five weeks for the results to be announced with Bush being declared president in December.
The Electoral College is an indirect election consisting of a collection of government selected electors from each state, with the number of electors per state varying on the state’s population, however it is usually the number of representatives in the House plus the two senators (California will have 55 delegates voting in December).
The electors will congregate in mid-December in their state’s capitol to cast two votes for president and one for vice president. When this voting occurs, the Electoral College is to vote according to how the people of their state vote.
In a lecture, political science Professor Daniel Douglas talked about how there are a total of 538 votes that are counted in the electoral college, 435 to equal the amount of member in the House of Representatives, 100 to represent the amount of Senators, and three for Washington D.C. A candidate must have 270 votes out of the 538 to win the presidency. 48 states do a winner-take-all election, where if a candidate wins that state, all those votes in the Electoral College go to that candidate. Maine and Nebraska are the only states that don’t use this method.
If someone votes against the popular vote of their state, they are referred to as an “unfaithful voter,” this is an extremely rare occurrence and has only happened eight times is U.S. history. When the voting is complete, the results are sealed and sent to the U.S. Senate. The results are opened and read aloud one by one on Jan. 6 by the U.S. Vice President, who is also the President of the Senate. To become elected president, the candidate must receive 51 percent of the votes.
If no candidate can be named at this step in the electoral process, the voting is deferred to congress, where the House of Representatives will have one vote per state for president, and the senate will cast one vote per state for the vice-presidency, this is also a rare occurrence.
On Jan. 20, the president and vice president of the United States are sworn into office, and officially begin their four year term.