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Independent Voters


America's way
One of the greatest strengths of America is that all citizens are provided a voice through the voting booth. And every vote does count! Many an election has been won by a handful of votes or even just one vote.

What is the Electoral College?
The Electoral College is comprised of 538 people, known as electors, chosen nationwide to meet in their home states and cast one vote per person for president and vice president. Michigan has18 electors to reflect the number of senators and representatives it has in the U.S. Congress. Presidential candidates on the Michigan ballot submit a list of 18 qualified electors to the Secretary of State’s Office. The 18 electors whose candidate wins Michigan’s popular vote will participate in the Electoral College at the State Capitol in December.
To be elected president, a candidate must receive at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes cast nationwide. If no candidate receives 270 votes, the final decision is made by the U.S. House of Representatives. Only two American presidents have been chosen by the U.S. House of Representatives because they lacked enough Electoral College votes. In 1800, Thomas Jefferson and, in 1824, John Quincy Adams both took office without having the popular vote.
Often misunderstood today, the Electoral College was established early in our country’s history and continues to play an important role in the American political process. Although the name suggests ivy-covered walls and classrooms filled with books, the Electoral College is responsible for formally selecting the next president and vice president of the United States.

Our country was founded on the principle of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Voting is one of this country’s most cherished rights. Our political system, including the Electoral College, is designed to ensure the full realization of this fundamental principle.
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Still, the question of whether the electoral college should be abolished is not this week's question. Many people who are asking it this week would have grown hoarse in defense of the venerable system if the great drama had played differently, and it were Gore who lost the popular vote and won the electoral vote. One does not agitate for constitutional reform merely because one's own side is not doing brilliantly under the Constitution.

Both candidates knew the rules of the election. Indeed, those rules determined their campaign strategies. Since every state save Maine and Nebraska uses a winner-take-all formula, every vote beyond the winning vote for Gore in, say, Massachusetts or for Bush in, say, Texas does not count. For this reason, candidates skip the states that seem to have made up their minds, and lavish their attentions on the suspenseful states, the ones that are closely divided. (That is why the "undecideds" became the celebrities of the season.) If there were no electoral college and each vote counted equally, Bush would have run up his vote in Texas and Gore would have run up his vote in New York. Both candidates would have conducted national campaigns rather than regional ones, and they would have adjusted their messages accordingly. As a practical matter, pandering would be a little harder.

"I know nothing grander, better exercise, better digestion, more positive proof of the past, the triumphant result of faith in human kind, than a well-contested American national election." - Walt Whitman