Recently I heard a very smart friend say that we should elect Presidents in this country by the popular vote and that it is unfair and undemocratic to use any other system……our votes don’t really count….etc., etc……..In this country we have never used the popular vote to determine the outcome of a presidential election, instead our constitution devised and we use what is called the Electoral College, and most people do not understand what that is, or what it means. Come on in to my civics classroom and take in today’s lecture on voting in America.
To grasp what this would mean to those of us who live in the South, we don’t really understand what it is like to live in a major city or a major metropolitan area (Well ok, some of you may have been to Atlanta one time). Take a look sometime at the population numbers of the largest cities in the United States and then find the largest city in Alabama and see where we rank (Birmingham comes in at #100–look at the bottom). Want to know the state population by rank, look here. If you used the popular vote system a President could be elected with the votes of a few states alone, and those would be the states with the most people, and then your vote would never ever really count.
Consider this: with a total population of more than 321 million over 1/2 of the total population of our country live in only nine (9) of the 50 states (No wide open spaces for those folks).
This is where the concept of representation by population should become clear to you and all readers and that my dear friends is why we have 100 senators (2 for each state) and 535 representatives in the United States Congress. The number of representatives is adjusted every ten years when the census numbers roll in.
So if you want to understand how the Electoral College system works take a look at the pretty colored map attached to this article and juggle the numbers of electors that are attached to each state. There is a lot of red on this map but if you add up the numbers it takes almost a solid red map to get to the magic number of 270 and that my dear reader, is what it takes to elect a President.