Everything you need to know about the Electoral College

Daily News Article - November 7, 2016


NOTE TO STUDENTS: Before answering the questions, read the information under “Background” below and watch the video under “Resources.”

1. a) When will the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential election become official?
b) Why will it take that long?

2. a) What is the Electoral College and where in the Constitution was is it established?
b) How many electoral college votes are there in total? On what numbers are they based?
c) How many electoral votes does a candidate need to win the presidency?
d) Why was the Electoral College established?

3. a) What is the “winner-take-all” system?
b) Name the two states that do not use the “winner-take-all” system.

4. a) Who is eligible to be an elector?
b) In how many states are electors bound to vote for the candidate the voters elected?
c) What are “faithless electors”? - What effect have they had on elections?

5. What are “swing states” (also known as “battleground” or “toss-up” states)?

6. What is the “transition”?

CHALLENGE: In 2013, nearly two-thirds of the public, 63 percent, said they wanted to get rid of the Electoral College, according to a Gallup poll, which found only 29 percent said they were against doing away with the system. It is important for voters to fully understand the purpose of the Electoral College before voting to eliminate it. (Just as it is important to understand the reasons for banning selfies in the voting booth before voting to end that ban.) Also, unintended consequences must be considered. Read the editorial supporting the Electoral College. “
What do you think? Should the Electoral College be eliminated? Explain your answer.

a) List the battleground states in the 2016 presidential election.
b) List the winner of each state’s electoral votes, and the number of popular votes each candidate received.
c) As well as voting for president, Americans are also electing all 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. Plus, they are voting for many local and state officials. List the names and parties of the Representatives and (if applicable) Senators who won in your state. Who is the Representative for your district?