Does your vote count? The Electoral College explained – Christina Greer


Translator: tom carter
Reviewer: Bedirhan Cinar Most people have heard of the Electoral College during presidential election years. But what exactly is the Electoral College? Simply said, it is a group of people appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. To understand how this process began and how it continues today, we can look at the Constitution of the United States: article two, section one, clause two of the constitution. It specifies how many electors each state is entitled to have. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election. How do they decide on the number 538? Well, the number of electors is equal to the total voting membership of the United States Congress. 435 representatives, plus 100 senators, and 3 electors from the District of Columbia. Essentially, the Democratic candidate and Republican candidate are each trying to add up the electors in every state so that they surpass 270 electoral votes, or just over half the 538 votes, and win the presidency. So how do states even get electoral votes? Each state receives a particular number of electors based on population size. The census is conducted every 10 years, so every time the census happens, states might gain or lose a few electoral votes. Let’s say you’re a voter in California, a state with 55 electoral votes. If your candidate wins in California, they get all 55 of the state’s electoral votes. If your candidate loses, they get none. This is why many presidential candidates want to win states like Texas, Florida, and New York. If you currently add up the electoral votes of those three states, you would have 96 electoral votes. Even if a candidate won North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, New Hampshire. Connecticut and West Virginia, they would only gain 31 electoral votes total from those eight states. Here is where it can get a little tricky. On a rare occasion, like in the year 2000, someone can win the popular vote but fail to gain 270 electoral votes. This means that the winner may have won and collected their electoral votes by small margins, winning just enough states with just enough electoral votes, but the losing candidate may have captured large voter margins in the remaining states. If this is the case, the very large margins secured by the losing candidate in the other states would add up to over 50% of the ballots cast nationally. Therefore, the losing candidate may have gained more than 50% of the ballots cast by voters, but failed to gain 270 of the electoral votes. Some critics of the electoral college argue the system gives an unfair advantage to states with large numbers of electoral votes. Think of it this way. It is possible for a candidate to not get a single person’s vote — not one vote — in 39 states, or the District of Columbia, yet be elected president by winning the popular vote in just 11 of these 12 states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia or Virginia. This is why both parties pay attention to these states. However, others argue that the electoral college protects small states such as Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire, and even geographically large states with small populations like Alaska, Wyoming and the Dakotas. That’s because a candidate can’t completely ignore small states, because in a close election, every electoral vote counts. There are certain states that have a long history of voting for a particular party. These are known as “safe states.” For the past four election cycles — in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 — Democrats could count on states like Oregon, Maryland, Michigan and Massachusetts, whereas the Republicans could count on states like Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and Idaho. States that are teetering between between parties are called “swing states.” In the past four election cycles, Ohio and Florida have been swing states, twice providing electoral votes for a Democratic candidate, and twice providing electoral votes for a Republican candidate. Think about it. Do you live in a safe state? If so, is it a Democratic or Republican safe state? Do you live in a swing state? Are your neighboring states swing or safe? Is the population in your state increasing or decreasing? And do not forget, when you are watching the electoral returns on election night every four years and the big map of the United States is on the screen, know that the magic number is 270 and start adding.

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Comments

  1. Let's simplify the complaints: (US) Football game. Team A scored 5 field goals – 15 points. Team B scored 3 touchdowns (no extra points) – 18 points. Team A complains because they felt that scoring five times means more than scoring 3 times. The problem is, the rules say that scoring a touchdown is worth more than a field goal. So it's not the COUNT that matters, it's the TYPE of success you have. Team A cries and threatens to take the ball home. Team B simply says they played by the rules. Team A HATES the rules when they lose but rub the rules into the face of Team B when Team A wins. Team A are a$$holes and no one should make friends with them. Team B may sometimes be boring, but make better longer term friends.

  2. Every vote counts. Don’t be misled. Here’s what you need to know…

    Right about now is when you’ll start hearing people clamoring about the difference between the popular vote and the electoral college. They’ll go on a rampage about how every vote needs to count and how the electoral college should be abolished. They’ll even site numerous countries in Europe that have direct, national voting elections.

    And, here’s what they’re not telling you.

    France, Italy, Spain and others do in fact have separate elections for presidents, but those countries are also members of the European Union and to elect the President of the EU voting works differently, it resembles the electoral college we have here.

    Let me explain; It’s important to remember that each of the 50 states here operates differently from one another. Each State has its own constitution. Each state elects (by popular vote only) it’s Governor, who acts like a president of a state. Each state has its own laws and regulations about things. Each state has different local income and sales taxes. Some don’t have any.

    The European Union has 28 countries – and they too operate differently from one another, like our states do. They have localized elections, local taxes, local laws and regulations and more. They even have a ‘Federal Tax’ – it’s called VAT and it's primary purpose is to fund the European Union, sort of how we pay Federal Taxes.

    Although there are some differences, the method is which votes from the people ‘roll-up’ is strikingly similar. They even send representatives to Parliament based on the population of a country, which is very similar to how we determine seats. In fact, the total voting population of the 28 member countries is about 400 million, which is very close to the 327 million we have here.

    Many people don’t know that there is a European Union President that governs all 28 countries from the executive institution, sort of like how we have an executive branch and guess what – that person is not elected directly by a popular vote from the people.

    Your vote does count. You are voting in a state election for president. When your state votes, you have a winner and your state gives its voting power to that candidate. Just like they do in Europe.

  3. The answer is "NO, your vote doesn't count UNLESS you are one of the 538 people in the Electoral College."

  4. The irony here is that democrats (the party of the little guy) want to get rid of it even though it's designed specifically to protect the little guy. Dumbasses.

  5. Yes my vote counts ! If you have not been paying attention to how tight the candidates have been coming close in numbers. We got the Power! We can influence our friends and family. The USA is a -Independent-Liberal-Republican-democracy having a Green Mexican tea party! I have legal Mexicans in my family!

  6. OMG!! Finally I understand. It took me hours just wrap my head around the concept. Thanks TED, and thanks you sweet lady's narrator voice

  7. Electoral college vote does not make sense in presidential elections. In presidential elections you are voting for one ultimate winner of one entire territory called the USA, so only popular vote should be considered.

  8. Electoral College System helps to prevent a tyranny of the majority over the minority. By not having a majority decided election, some of that overwhelming power of California and New York is taken away. Plus, urban areas are usually far more populated but very ideologically homogenous. Rural areas are sparsely populated but still deserve to be represented. The other reason for the electoral college is that it make election fraud far less likely to impact the outcome as elections are controlled locally. Those who argue against the electoral college are so narrow-minded that they fail to understand the bigger picture.

  9. Your popular vote IS counted. By state. YOU CAN sway your state.

    We essentially have a top-down, pyramid system.this ensures states effectively function as smaller, independent republics, and why we have vastly different laws between them.

  10. I’m not from America, and I just… don’t understand why you guys need the electoral college. All other countries just count the votes without it.

    I see a lot of people in the comments talking about “mob rule” and “ignoring the smaller states” without the electoral college, but I don’t see how making some states have 10 times more electoral votes than others helps protect Americans from mob rule. As TedEd already pointed out, most politicians just want to take the states with big populations, sometimes completely ignoring states with only a few electoral votes.

    I just personally think it’s unreasonable that the candidate that wins more votes in general can still lose.

  11. One guy in the comments pointed it out perfectly. In our system, its like a sports season. Pick any sports. Which team typically and rightfully goes to the finals? The ones who wins the most games. Now think of each state like a game. You dont win by getting the most touch downs or home runs. You win by getting the most amount of points in one game, then in the next game, then the next game, and so on and so forth, and winning as many games as possible to get to the championship title. This systen assures that whoever is running for President goes to as many places as possible and advertises in as many places as possible, and when President takes care of as many people as possible to assure reelection. As it stands, the entire midwest region, from Michigan to New Mexico has about the same population as California, Miami, and New York City. So in a popular vote system all you would need to do is campaign in those 3 places and maybe someplace like Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, or Dallas, and boom, you've got the most points, even though you didnt win the most games. And to get reelected all you would have to do is pander to those people, often to the detriment of the rest of the country. L.A water crisis is a perfect example of this tyranny of the majority. L.A County by popular vote took water from farmers and smaller towns because they had begun to run out of water when they didnt stop watering their lawns or taking long baths and showers. The farmers wound up having to take the water from the small towns so they could water their crops, and many of the small towns wound up drying up.

  12. America was never intended to be A democracy the founders despised and mistrusted it and called it for what it is mob rule. “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what they are going to have for lunch.” (Benjamin Franklin).

  13. With all said and done this video was pretty good. You can tell that it was released in 2012 before politics became so bloody polarized. If it had been released now I expect it would demonize the electoral college completely.

  14. So essentially, the arguement that the electoral college gives small states a say is actually false. The only votes that matter are the those of the 11 biggest states. The fact that a candidate could lose 78% of the states, (39 out of 50) and still get elected shows a flaw in the system.

  15. It’s simple folks. If a democrat wins it’s the best system. If a republican wins it needs completely overhauled

  16. I normally dont learn anything from these videos, but today is the first time. Good job, for once. Duh nuhhhhh!

  17. this… didn't give me an answer…

    The title is misleading. Its even made worse that you can see that they were going to explain it a bit more, but started to drift off, and forgot to come back to explaining how our vote counts.

    I really want to know.

    I would love to be able to explain to people how thier votes count, but this isn't helping.

  18. "We're not a Democracy bruh, we're a Republic" The amount of morons saying this and thinking that they're smart or informed is beyond infuriating.
    Wtf do you think a Republic, a Constitutional Democracy ARE?!! They're democracies. Stop pretending like people are talking about a DIRECT Democracy, and stop thinking that a Republic (Constitutional Democracy) is NOT a Representative Democracy.

  19. Then what is the use of voting if in the end it doesn't matter and this representatives will just vote to whoever they want to vote.

  20. Well at the same time America has a fpp system that let’s at its core a minority of the actual voters to dictate who is president.
    If 20 candidates run for presidency, only 5% has to vote for one person to win.

    From when this is posted there were 329,283,517 Americans. Only 823, 208 have to vote for one person. Pretty much any state could collectively have decided to chose one on popular vote.

    Before people say only like 6 actually run, that’s 20% needed. 65,856,703 is nothing compared to the other 80%.

    This creates a minority based voting system, if you add the electoral college not top as well.

  21. Still better than the British system which is absolutely awful. It's pointless voting over here most of the time

  22. Where do the votes come from to get the ELECTORAL votes?? For example, the 55 year electoral votes from California? What defines which parties wins?

  23. If it weren’t for the electoral college the vote would be dominated completely by a few costal regions, democrats would almost always win ( thanks to California ) and than there wouldn’t be equal representation to people in states that are more inland as they live a different lifestyle and without the EC presidential candidates wouldn’t care about them nearly as much.

  24. If just the Big Cities are used the billionaires will take control of all national elections because only the populated cities would count. The Founding Fathers knew that Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City, would decide the elections without the Electoral College. The Elites want to control, so do away with the Electoral College and good-by Republic.

  25. Your vote will never count both Republican s and Democrats don't care about Americans enought e mail s pictures show American lives were apart of all political paycheck as long as American s die both e mails showed they make money from imagrants stealing our identity both sides did

  26. The electoral vote is unfair because it doesn’t actually honor the votes according to what the majority of people want. The electoral vote system is out of date and needs to be eliminated.

  27. The Electoral College was written by terrorists(slavers) to be nothing more than a "welfare benefit" for themselves and other terrorists. The E C (+ the 3/5ths clause) awards excessive national governmental power to terrorists(slavers). The Electoral College encouraged and rewarded the terrorism of slavery. The Electoral College allowed terrorists to dominate the USA national government until around 1850-1860. The USA's "founding fathers" were the USA's first group of "welfare queens".

    What happened around 1860 when abolition and the prohibition of slaver terrorism in the new territories greatly reduced the "free stuff" to which the terrorists had become so accustomed?

    What happened when the terrorist slaver welfare queens lost their "free stuff" from the USA government?

    After the civil war, the Electoral College became a "welfare benefit" for states which suppress voting. I wonder which states LOVE to suppress voting ………. might they be the former terrorist states and terrorist sympathizer states?

    The Electoral College has poisoned the USA. But, I'm sure a "constitutional expert" would already know that, wouldn't they?

  28. NO ONE OTHER THAN THE AMERICAN PEOPLE SHOULD VOTE FOR THE PRESIDENT AND VP, NOT A BUNCH OF PEOPLE THAT WHO KNOWS WHY THEY VOTED THAT WAY. BASICALLY AS STATED IN THIS VIDEO, AND AS WE ALL KNOW, A PERSON THAT WE DID NOT WISH TO BE PRESIDENT BY THE PEOPLE WERE OVERRULED BY A BUNCH OF SOMEBODIES WE DON'T EVEN KNOW. THIS MUST GO!!

  29. If the UN has popular votes, every UN decision will be based on Chinese ppl. Therefore, UN officials will serve Chinese's needs only. The same rule applies to any country, that's why there was yellow vest movement in France, those country folks didn't have a voice in the French election. Their struggles were ignored.

  30. A popular vote would simply be much better. A blue vote could count in Texas, a red in California, and the swing states wouldn't hold immeasurable power over the others.

  31. the electoral college works, except for the people that lose the election. Now the losers want to change the rules so they could ever stand a chance of winning anything.

  32. We need to eliminate electoral colleges. It sucks! By eliminating the electoral colleges, we don't have to worry about gerrymandering and all other frauds associated with our old voting system. Let's get it changed for popular vote system as everyone else in the world.

  33. so a candidate can win presidency by electoral college even if NOT a single civilian votes for them? Why do civilians even bother voting?

  34. There is an imabalnce of wealth and Capitalism at is core is the root of the 1% -now less than 1% having more access to natural resources than 99.9% of the World. Yet the western society is crying we are poor, starving and dying, but capitalism and the american dream will save us.
    what a bloody shame, capitalism itself is a MAJOR part of the very reason for poverty and disease and corruption. smh

  35. Translation = If you live in a solidly safe state, don't bother voting for president. Your vote will not count. BUT still vote for your representative!!!

  36. There is no "the popular vote". There are 51 separate and unique votes on election day. People vote under the own unique circumstances in their own state. Tallying up those 51 unique elections and calling that a true reflection of a national popular vote is folly. The STATES elect the President NOT the PEOPLE.

  37. The main issue I have with the EC is that forty-eight of the states are winner take all. Which means, it does not matter if the winner won by one vote or five million votes, they would still get the same number of electoral votes. Which is a disservice to all voters, not just those who vote for a candidate in a tightly contested/swing state, because it doesnt give any value to an overwhelming win, either!

    The simplest adjustment that could be made to make the votes of every voter, regardless of state, matter more would be to split the electoral votes in each state by the percentage of the popular vote that each candidate won! Example: If a candidate won sixty percent of the popular vote, then they would get sixty percent of the electoral votes, and assuming the other candidate won forty percent of the PV would then win forty percent of that state’s EVs.

    This election is already shaping itself up to come down to a handful of states (rust belt), and that simplybshould not be acceptable!

    Andrew Yang has presented a similar idea to the one above, and I firmly believe that this would be a great compromise between the EC supporters and the popular vote supporters.

  38. Get rid of the electoral voting system beings our systems are now being rigged and hacked, bought and paid for. Popular votes only. Then it's a fair vote for everyone.

  39. In 2016 Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 2 million votes yet Trump won the electoral vote – to sum it up, your vote really doesn't matter. The electoral college is designed to keep the power in the hands of rich white people

  40. How do we even know any votes are counted? Especially when most places you go to vote are a religious organization with an agenda getting tax free money for using their space they don't pay taxes on.

  41. All that I’m going to say, is the electoral college is why USA has some of the lowest voter turnouts from around the world. Your vote certainly doesn’t matter in the end. Just think if 90-95% of the country actually voted. Electoral college would have no ground to stand on.

  42. I truly understand the electoral college …with that said it is a moot point for the individual vote to be discussed at all…it is just a feel good trick…why bother the results are based on the electors …RIGHT

  43. What do you mean? …..In New York live people of both parties and they should be count each one, like all other eleccions (Senator, Mayor, Governor etc) That is call " Democracy "

  44. Your vote does not actually count. The electoral college was set up bc slaves outnumbered whites in the south when they were allowed to vote. Hence the 3/5 of a human came into play and electoral college was set up, so that the wealthy and powerful could actually decide who wins. In modern times you can consider yourself 3/5 human no matter what color you are if you live in a state with a dense population and low electoral votes. In reality the candidate with the most votes should win, yet they do not always win. I believe Hilary had more votes than Trump yet she lost bc of the electoral votes. So millions of peoples votes did not count. I personally do not vote and could care less who is president bc I am not buying into the conspiracy that your vote actually counts. Do you really think that they would let anyone be president? You need power, money, corporations, etc to be considered. By the time you have achieved enough power and money you are already corrupt and could care less about the common man. To maintain a flourishing economy you always need more worker ants than queen ants. The system is designed to create more worker ants. That is why CEOs of large corporations will take millions of dollars in pay raises to themselves, yet they will not raise the minimum wage so that one person can work and support a family of three. Well, that is it for now I have to go back to work and make the rich richer.

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