What is the Electoral College?
The Electoral College is a group of electors established by the United States Constitution. It forms every four years for the sole purpose of electing the President and Vice President of the United States. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. An absolute majority of electoral votes, 270 or more is required to win the election. Voters are actually choosing which of their states electors represents them in the electoral college voting.
The Electoral College system is a matter of ongoing debate and efforts to eliminate it. Supporters argue that it is fundamental to American , that increases the political influence of small states. This is because the number of electors from each state is the number of senators (two) plus the number of state Representatives. Candidates will also need to appeal to voters outside large cities. Critics say that the Electoral College is less democratic than a national direct popular vote.
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A constitutional flaw at that time led to the electoral crisis of 1800. During that period, there was no way the electoral college could distinguish between candidates for president and candidates for vice president. The candidate with the most votes would become President, the runner up would become Vice President. In this election there was a tie between Jefferson and Burr. The decision was sent to the U.S. House of Representatives.
This 1800 presidential election provided Alexander Hamilton, former Secretary of the Treasury, with a dilemma: There was a tie between Thomas Jefferson whose principles were in direct opposition to Hamilton's own, and Aaron Burr who Hamilton believed to have no principles at all. Hamilton asked Jefferson for some policy promises. He then urged the Federalists in the House to vote for Jefferson. Jefferson became President and Burr Vice President.
Burr learned what Hamilton had done and the already existing tensions between them escalated ending in the duel that killed Hamilton in July 1804.
In 1824 , were the primary contenders for the . The result of the election was inconclusive. No candidate won a majority of the . The election was sent into the U.S. House of Representatives., and
Adams was elected on the first ballot. This shocked Jackson who had been the winner of a plurality of both the popular and electoral votes and expected the House to choose him. There were accusations in the newspapers that Clay had “sold” his support to Adams in exchange for a promise to name him Secretary of State.
Jackson did become President in the next election of 1828. He defeated Adams in a landslide.
The Republicans refused to accept defeat. They accused Democratic supporters of intimidating and bribing African-American voters to prevent them from voting in three southern states, Florida, and .
To resolve the dispute, Congress set up a special electoral commission in January 1877.
The so-called Compromise of 1877 they reached put Republican Rutherford Hayes into office as President. The Democrats agreed to accept a Hayes victory and said they would respect the rights of African Americans, on the condition that Republicans withdraw all federal troops from South which had been stationed there since the end of the Civil War.
Outraged northern Democrats referred to the new President Hayes as "His Fraudulency."
Benjamin Harrison challenged President Grover Cleveland in his reelection bid in 1888. Cleveland won more popular votes, but Harrison won in the Electoral College. When the time came to leave the White House, First LadyFrances Cleveland told the servants that they would be back in four years. Her prediction came true. Cleveland won another term in 1892 defeating Benjamin Harrison this time. Grover Cleveland is the only U.S. President to date elected for two non-consecutive terms.
The U.S. Presidential Succession
History and Current Order of US Presidential Succession
U.S. Presidential Succession addresses who takes over if the President dies, is removed from office or resigns. It also covers the event, should it occur, where the President is permanently disabled and unable to serve. Also, guidelines are in place in cases where the President is temporarily disabled. There can be a temporary transfer of power to the Vice President.
Our current method of presidential succession takes its authority from: The 20th Amendment (Article II, Section 1, Clause 6) and 25th Amendment of the Constitution and The Presidential Succession Law of 1947.
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“My Fellow Americans Our Long National Nightmare is Over”
President Gerald R. Ford
The Watergate scandal
was a political scandal in the administration of U.S. President
Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that led
to Nixon's resignation.
Prior to that Vice President Spiro Agnew had resigned
after pleading nolo contendere (no contest) to one count of tax evasion after being
investigated for criminal conspiracy, bribery, extortion and tax fraud
during his time in office as a Baltimore County, MD. Executive, Maryland
Governor and Vice President.
December 1973, two months after the ,
U.S. Congressman Gerald R. Ford was appointed to the vice presidency by
President Nixon. After the subsequent resignation of President Nixon in August
1974, Ford immediately assumed the presidency.
In this election the Supreme Court reached a
controversial legal decision on Dec. 12, 2000 effecting what the election’s
electoral final vote count would be.
Vice President Al Gore Jr. won the popular
vote in the 2000 election against Texas Gov. George W. Bush in a very close
election. Al Gore, the Democrat, received 50,988,442 votes and George
Bush, the Republican, received 50,449,494.
However, Bush was ultimately awarded the
Electoral College result and became President.
In the end bush received 271 electoral votes, one more than required 270 to win the Electoral College, and the defeat of Al Gore, who received 266 electoral votes (one elector from the District of Columbia abstained).
It had all come down to the pivotal state of
Florida. This state was faced with a variety of ballot and election machine
difficulties. There were old machines which used an antiquated punch card
method. Pieces of paper became the infamous “hanging chads” when a hole had not
been punched fully, leaving bits of paper or "chad" hanging from the poorly punched hole.
There was also “under voting” where no holes seemed to have been punched for a selection.
The "butterflyballot" used in the Palm Beach County, Florida was a ballot that had names down both sides, with a single column of punch holes in the center. This was compared to a confusing maze and named “butterfly” because of its appearance. It led to widespread allegations of mismarked ballots in that locality. Recounting and additional recounting of the recounts of the ballots continued as law suits wound their way through the courts until they reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Bush v. Gore was a case argued before the on December 11, 2000, and decided on December 12, 2000. The case concerned a complaint from both parties contesting certification of state results in presidential elections. The Supreme Court granted the application, treating it as a petition for writ of certiorari, and granted certiorari.( Latin for "to be more fully informed." It is an "order issued by the U.S. Supreme Court directing the lower court to transmit records for a case it will hear on appeal.")
In a per curiam (the court as a whole) decision, the court (The action of an appellate court overturning a lower court's decision) and (To return a case or claim to a lower court for additional proceeding) The judgment of the , ruling 7-2 that the Florida Supreme Court's method for recounting ballots was unconstitutional, and ruling 5-4 that no constitutional recount could be conducted in the time legally remaining to do so. The ruling allowed the previous certification of votes in Florida to stand, granting the state's 25 electoral votes and victory in the 2000 presidential election to . (R)”
In brief the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, ruled five to four that the recounting in Florida must stop and the previous certification of election results awarding Florida’s electors to Republican Bush.
BUSH ET AL. V. GORE ET AL. CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA No. 00-949.
Argued December 11, 2000-Decided December 12, 2000
2016 was an election campaign marred by divisive rhetoric and foreign cybersecurity interference.
tv personality and former casino owner Donald J. Trump defeated former
Secretary of State, Senator and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Again, the winner declared
won only in the Electoral College count. Trump got 304 electoral votes
and Clinton received 227 electoral votes. But this time the popular vote
was not even close and Clinton won it. The popular vote was Clinton 65,853,514 and Trump 62,984,828.
"Does Your Vote Count?"
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Thank you to the following Logue Librarians with helping me with this blog:
Mary Jo Larkin, SSJ Dean of Library & Information Resources and Gail Cathey,
Print Resources / Access Services Librarian with editing and research for this blog
Posted by J. Presley, Systems Management Librarian