By Jaci Schneider, Opinion Editor
When voters cast their ballots Nov. 2, they’re not voting for the president of the United States. They’re choosing electors, who will meet to choose the president more than one month later on Dec. 13.
The Electoral College is as old as democracy in America, but few citizens actually understand how it works.
“I remember it,” said Courtney Francois, sophomore criminal justice major from Dallas, “but I don’t remember anything about it.”
Ana Clonts, freshman vocal performance major from Temple, said she, like most people, learned about the Electoral College in high school but doesn’t recall exactly how it works.
“I did it way back of the beginning of high school,” Clonts said, “and I’m not even interested in politics.”
As most students learned in school, the founding fathers didn’t agree on how their president should be elected; some wanted Congress to pick, and some thought the people should decide. To compromise, they laid out the rules for Electoral College in Article II, section 1 of the Constitution.
Each state has a set number of electors; the number equals the number of the state’s U.S. senators (2), plus the number of its U.S. house representatives, which is different for each state based on population.
On Dec. 13, the electors will meet in the state capital and will vote for the president based on the majority vote in the state. Although Electors usually choose the majority’s pick for president, they are not required to.
“I think that pretty much sucks,” said Jason Grassie, freshman undeclared major from Roswell, N.M. “I think that as a democracy, the people are the ones who should elect the leader of the nation.”
Grassie isn’t alone in his disapproval of the system. Much of the American public became critical of the Electoral College system after the 2000 election, in which Al Gore won the popular vote, but George W. Bush won the electoral vote.
“I thought that was kind of ironic,” Grassie said, “and it seems like it’s not fair.”
To win the election, the candidate must win a majority of the electoral votes, 270 of 538. In 2000, George W. Bush received 271.
Analysts have already predicted that a majority of Texans will vote for George W. Bush this November. All 34 Electoral votes should then be cast for Bush. However, states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are still undecided, leaving 27, 20 and 21 Electoral votes up for grabs.