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Electoral College vs. Popular Vote: Does Your Vote Even Matter?

It hasn't happened often, but what would happen if the electoral college vote and popular vote are split?

It's a close race, no doubt about that. The two candidates are neck and neck in virtually every poll.

If you look at the attached Electoral Map, you'll quickly see that the majority of states are red, but the number of electoral college votes go to President Obama. 

So what is this electoral college?

The electoral college is a process, not a place, according to the U.S. National Archives. The electors are nominated at either their state party conventions or by votes from the state's central committee. 

According to the Archives, "Electors are often chosen to recognize service and dedication to their political party. They may be State-elected officials, party leaders, or persons who have a personal or political affiliation with the Presidential candidate."

Voters in each state choose the electors by casting votes for the presidential candidate of their choice on election day, according to the Archives. In some states, the names of the electors appear on the ballot below the name of the candidates. The winning candidate in the state's elections are awarded all the electoral votes (except in Nebraska and Maine).

How do you think the election will go down tomorrow? Will the electoral vote differ from the popular? Make a prediction in the comments section at the bottom of this article. 

No federal law requires the electors vote for who the general population voted for — some states do, but Georgia is not one of those states. Electors generally vote for the popular vote in their state, however.

So who are these people who select the next president of the United States? In 2008, the Georgia electors were Esther Clark, Dennis Coxwell, Norma Edenfield, Randy Evans, Sue P. Everhart, Leigh Ann Gillis, Judy Goddard, Linda Herren, Rufus Montgomery, Clint Murphy, Sunny Park, Alec Poitevint, John Sours, Allan Vigil and John White. Each person cast their vote for John McCain and Sarah Palin, since that was the popular vote.   

How does it work?

A total of 538 electors exist. A majority of 270 decide the presidency. Allocations of electoral votes are based on the most recent census. 

On Dec. 16, the electors will get together to cast their votes. On Jan. 6, Congress will count the votes and make it official. 

Throughout history, four presidents lost the popular vote but won the electoral: John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888 and George W. Bush in 2000. 

On a side note, this basically ensures that an independent candidate has no chance of ever becoming president.

Why does it even exist?

Because, when it was first formed in 1788, information was hard to come by. They didn't want the vote to fall to people who may not know all the facts. Some thought Congress should select the president, others thought it should be based purely on popular decision. The Electoral College was the compromise. 

The division of electoral votes are as follows:

  • Alabama — 9
  • Alaska — 3
  • Arizona — 11
  • Arkansas — 6
  • California — 55
  • Colorado — 9
  • Connecticut — 7
  • Delaware — 3
  • Washington, D.C. — 3
  • Florida — 29
  • Georgia — 16
  • Hawaii — 4
  • Idaho — 4
  • Illinois — 20
  • Indiana — 11
  • Iowa — 6
  • Kansas — 6
  • Kentucky — 8
  • Louisiana — 8
  • Maine — 4
  • Maryland — 10
  • Massachussetts — 11
  • Michigan — 16
  • Minnesota — 10
  • Mississippi — 6
  • Missouri — 10
  • Montana — 3
  • Nebraska — 5
  • Nevada — 6
  • New Hampshire — 4
  • New Jersey — 14
  • New Mexico — 5
  • New York — 29
  • North Carolina — 15
  • North Dakota — 3
  • Ohio — 18
  • Oklahoma — 7
  • Oregon — 7
  • Pennsylvania — 20
  • Rhode Island — 4
  • South Carolina — 9
  • South Dakota — 3
  • Tennessee — 11
  • Texas — 38
  • Utah — 6
  • Vermont — 3
  • Virginia — 13
  • Washington — 12
  • West Virginia — 5
  • Wisconsin — 10
  • Wyoming — 3

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Larry 6 String November 07, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Obama wil win electoral but not popular vote--Larry6String Ottawa, Canada
MF Taxpayer November 07, 2012 at 06:13 PM
We the people of the UNITED STATES of OBAMACA.
missy meakin November 08, 2012 at 02:22 AM
the electorial college needs to be abolished. And why the heck does california have so many?
sonomama November 10, 2012 at 07:30 AM
MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Sign this petition to tell Washington we want Popular Vote to decided our Presidential Elections! http://www.change.org/petitions/us-president-us-house-of-representatives-us-sentate-allow-popular-vote-to-decide-us-presidential-elections

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