Good Question - Why The Electoral College?

By: Jeff Herndon Email
By: Jeff Herndon Email

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The magic number for a presidential candidate hoping to make 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home is 270. Barack Obama has, so far, collected 364 electoral votes.

Viewer Monty Williams wants to know, "Why do we use the electoral college and not popular vote to elect a president?" Good question.

In order to answer this question, Jeff had to go back to school. Not just any school, middle school.

Mrs. Smith is an eighth grade American History teacher at Rose Hill Middle School. She is an expert when it comes to presidential politics.

"The electoral college goes back to the great compromise. It's the exact
same formula that we use. The founding fathers wanted to make sure that
small states didn't get run over by large states. They wanted to make sure
that all states mattered. At the time that the constitutional convention was
decided, there were more people living in Philadelphia than the entire
South," Mrs. Smith explained.

Monty also wants to know if a candidate can win the popular vote and lose the White House. The answer is yes. In fact, it has happened four times: 1824,1876, 1888 and 2000.

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