An Exposition on The Electoral College System Of The US Presidential Election – By Dr Idorenyin Eyo


In the United States of America, the Electoral College system is used in electing the President, every four years. Indeed it is not in all cases that the Candidate with the highest popular votes becomes elected as President.This was evident in the Presidential election of 2016, when Hilary Clinton had over three milion more popular votes than Donald Trump.

In this electoral college system, every state has a number of electors. The number of electors are based on the size of its congressional delegation. It is the Presidential candidate who has the most number of electoral votes ( minimum of 270), that eventually becomes elected the President of the United States of America. Washington D.C. doesn’t have representation in Congress. However, it has three electoral college votes, which is the same number of electoral college votes that the least populous state in the US has.

Every state in the US has one elector for each US representative it has, and also one elector for each senator it has.

A state’s congressional seat is determined by the country’s census, which takes place every ten years.

It is important to note that the Electors are nominated. Most of the Electors are nominated at their party conventions, and their names are submitted to the state’s electoral offices.

One may be tempted to ask, why then do millions of Americans vote for their President, if it is the Electors who will , through their electoral votes, eventually determine who becomes the President of the United States of America?

The answer is that the millions of votes of Americans, also determine the Presidential Candidate that a state’s electoral votes will be for, as the state electors all vote for the Presidential Candidate with the most number of popular votes in their state, except for Maine and Nebraska. Maine and Nebrasks allot two votes to the winner of the popular votes, and one vote to winner of each congressional district.

In the event of no candidate being able to win 270 electoral votes, the Senate chooses the Vice President, and the House chooses the President, through a procedure based on extant laws of the United States.

There have been agitations for the review the Electoral College System long before now, including after the 2016 Presidential election, so as to give preference to popular votes; stop frivolous election litigations; clear the uncertainty and conflicts therein; and circumvent the actions of “faithless electors” who may want to deviate from the decision of popular votes in their states. Some also argue strongly that the United States should adopt a system, whereby the presidential candidate with the highest popular votes, is elected President. Indeed the journey seems a long one, as this will entail constitutional amendments, judicial activism et al.

The Electorate College of the United States of America has just elected Mr Joe Biden as the US President Elect, with Kamala Harris as the Vice President Elect. On 6th January, 2021, a Joint Senate Congressional Session, is expected to confirm this, preparatory to the Presidential Inauguration scheduled for 20th January, 2021.



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