Electoral College Votes in Presidential Elections
Presidential elections can seem confusing to people who have not studied the US system of government. We never do things by "simple majority" because that would not fairly represent the feelings of people in the very diverse areas of our country. Instead, we vote representatives in to speak for us in two manners
* 2 senators equally represent each state, so that small Massachusetts has the same voice as huge Texas.
* Representatives are divvied up across all states based on population, so small populous areas have the same voice as huge, unpopulated areas.
These same theories hold true for the electoral college and are in fact based on the exact same numbers. The electoral college is made up of a # of people equal to the # of senators plus the # of representatives for a given state. This takes into account both the state's "right as an equal state" as well as the "population density" of that state. Massachusetts has 2 senators and also 10 representatives. Whichever party "wins" Massachusetts by POPULAR vote, then tells "Massachusetts electors what to do" - i.e. all of Massachusett's 12 electors then vote for that party.
In 2004, there are 538 total electors in the US. This means that a candidate would need to win 270 of those votes to win.
People in small states like Massachusetts really need the senate vote / electoral college system to maintain their state rights. Imagine a system where everything was done by popular vote - i.e. 51% of the US wants it, it happens. California votes to turn Rhode Island into a nuclear waste dump. Rhode Island votes against it - but heck, they're tiny. The giant states would do whatever they wanted, and the small states would be helpless to maintain their rights.
2004 voting stats
Bush - 2,478 53%
Kerry - 2,173 46%
Badnarik - 35 1%
Cobb - 14 0%
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