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The Electoral College: How It Has Shaped The Modern Presidential Election Since 1968

1174 words - 5 pages

Every four years that a Presidential election comes to pass the Electoral College is responsible for the formal election of both the President and Vice President of the United States. As an example of an indirect election, where people in each state at large vote in order to decide which individuals will be delegated the responsibility of casting votes for President and Vice President in accordance with the popular vote of the state which has entrusted them to provide such representation, the Electoral College works to ensure that smaller states are not denied the right to have the equal power of influence in our national election for President (Neale, 2004). The Electoral College itself has been in existence since it was introduced within the framework of various proposals introduced at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 (Neale, 2004). The Mcgovern-Fraser Commission in 1969, which was known formally as the Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection, played a crucial role in amending the practices of political parties in their work within the Electoral framework, in particular changing the way in which states were allowed to select delegates to national conventions (Stricherz, 2003). This would result in candidates having to develop broader campaigns that would need to appeal to voters across any state in which they desired that states delegation officially support their candidacy.
The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors which represents the voting membership of both houses of congress (535) and 3 additional electors to represent Washington D.C (Neale, 2004) . Each state is allocated electoral votes according to their representation of members in both houses of congress, giving electoral college leverage to the more populous states, with Washington D.C. restricted to not having more electors than the least populous state (Neale, 2004). This leverage directly effects the ways in which presidential candidates coordinate their campaigns in order to secure the electoral votes of states large enough to impact their electoral vote total. In order for a candidate to secure the presidency he or she must obtain a majority of the electoral votes which currently sits at 270. The three largest electoral vote states, California (55) and Texas (38) and Florida (31), while representing over one fifth of the total electoral votes available provide a window into the way in which politicians view some states versus others. For example, California has been a Democratic Party stronghold in the electoral college for the past two decades. Texas, a Republican Party stronghold for the greater part of three decades, represents the other side of that coin (Office of Federal Register, www.archives.gov) . Considering what seems an insurmountable task for say a Democrat to waltz into Texas and glide off with their 38 votes or a Republican to saunter into California and leave with its 55 it is no wonder politicians are forced to configure...

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