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Electoral College & the 2000 Election

On Tuesday, November 7, millions of Americans went to the polls to place their votes for our nation's next president.Little did these men and women know that their votes would be so important in this election.The race between presidential candidates Albert Gore and George W. Bush has been the closest in decades, and one week after Election Day, the United States is still without a president-elect.As the nation keeps its eyes on the recounts in Florida to see who will earn the state's 25 electoral votes, many American's are still wondering how the Electoral College system works.
Times like these remind us of the important role that the Electoral College plays in electing a President.Established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote, the Electoral College has played a pivotal role in presidential elections since its conception.Only once in our history, has a candidate won the popular vote and lost the election.This was in 1888 when Democratic candidate Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College vote by 65 votes to Benjamin Harrison.Perhaps we will see history repeat itself in the 2000 election.
Today, a candidate must win 270 electoral votes, a majority, to become President.The candidate that receives a majority of the vote in any given state takes all of the State's electoral votes. If no presidential candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the presidential election to be decided by the House of Representatives. The House would select the President by majority vote, choosing from the three candidates who received the greatest number of electoral votes. The vote would be taken by State, with each State delegation having one vote. This has only happened twice in American history, Thomas Jefferson’s election in 1801 and John Quincy Adam’s el…

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