What you need to know about electoral voting in the United States :: Politics :: RBC

Electoral voting is the second stage of the electoral process in the United States, which is formally will consolidate the voting results of ordinary voters on November 3. In states where the majority of voters supported Donald Trump, Republican electors will vote, and where Joseph Biden won, Democrats. Based on the results of voting on November 3 Biden won the majority of the votes in 25 states and the District of Columbia, which should bring him the support of 306 electors — 36 votes more than 270 needed to win. The incumbent won 25 states, with 232 electors in his piggy bank.

What could hinder Biden’s presidency

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In theory, electors in several states can disregard voters’ opinions and vote for any candidate. Since the beginning of the 20th century, there have been eight campaigns in which electors have refused to vote for a candidate with the support of the majority of their state’s population. For example, in 2016, five Democrats and two Republicans did this. However, over the past hundred years, there have been no cases when the arbitrariness of the electors cost the victory of one of the rivals. Given Biden’s current lead over Trump, there is little doubt that a Democrat will win, even if a few electors refuse to heed the populace.

But there is another factor that could prevent Biden from becoming the 46th President of the United States. This is a Supreme Court decision to overturn election results in certain states. Donald Trump refuses to admit defeat and expects to achieve victory in court. The current president believes that the counting of votes in several states was carried out with violations. is he unhappyin particular, because some states allowed the counting of votes cast by mail after voting day, even if ballots were received before November 3.

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Last week 106 Rep. GOP supported Texas attorney general lawsuit Ken Paxton on revising the results of the presidential elections in four states, where Joe Biden won – Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which brought 62 electoral votes to Biden’s piggy bank. Their loss could cost a Democrat the presidency. Paxton applied to the Supreme Court with a request to invalidate the election results in these states, as they did not comply with the rules for processing ballots, including those sent by mail.

Trump accused the US Supreme Court of lack of wisdom and courage

Before that, the courts rejected complaints from the Trump team. For example, the courts of Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin and Arizona refused to consider the claims of the Republicans: the judges referred to the fact that Trump either did not follow due process in the petition, or did not provide evidence to support his statements. Saturday morning Supreme Court rejected and Paxton’s lawsuit, indicating that Texas failed to prove it had a legal right to make such claims. According to the court, the state did not demonstrate “a legally justified interest in how elections are held in other states.”

As a result, the Republicans have one last chance to prevent Biden’s victory. On January 6, at a meeting of both chambers of Congress, legislators are to officially confirm the results of the electoral vote. Members of Congress may refuse to do so and challenge the outcome of a state election. However, such a refusal must be declared by the majority in both houses of Congress – the Senate and the House of Representatives. Given that Democrats control the majority in the House of Representatives, such an outcome seems unlikely.

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Why the debate about the effectiveness of such an electoral system has escalated

In recent years, among analysts and political scientists escalated dispute about the expediency of the entire institution of electors (in general, over the past 200 years in the United States was asked more than 700 options for reforming or abolishing the electoral system, but none were adopted).

Skeptics point out that in the past 20 years, there have been two cases in which the candidate who received the most votes across the country did not receive the majority of the electoral votes – Al Gore, who lost to Republican George W. Bush in 2002, and Hillary Clinton, who lost to Trump in 2016 year. In addition, the electoral system leads to the fact that election participants during the campaign concentrate their forces on those states in which the result is not a foregone conclusion, in fact, ignoring the territories where the voters’ preferences are obvious.

Trump may “trade” Biden’s inauguration for a rally

Donald Trump

In turn, supporters of the current system point out that it emphasizes the importance of each state and demonstrates the connection of the population with regional structures. In addition, there is a strengthening of the bipartisan system, as the votes of the “third” candidates, which they have collected in individual states, are not converted into electoral votes. The presence of a two-party system allows a candidate from one of the leading parties to get a clear advantage in the first round and close the question of who should lead the country.

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According to a September Gallup poll, 61% of Americans act for the abolition of the electoral system. Instead, they would like to introduce a direct system whereby the winner is the candidate with the most votes nationwide. This decision is supported by 89% of Democrats and 69% of non-partisans, but only 23% of Republicans.

Since the current electoral model is enshrined in the Constitution, for it cancellation required consent of two thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate, as well as two thirds of the states. At the same time, a consensus has not yet formed in Congress for such changes, especially since the current system plays into the hands of the Republicans.


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