How the Electoral College works
(CNN) -- The 2000 election was the fourth time the Electoral College selected a candidate other than the one who won the popular vote.
So do we the people really elect the president and vice president? Technically, we don't. Presidents are elected by the states and the District of Columbia, not by a national tally of voters. When you vote, you cast your ballot for electors who will vote for a candidate they are politically aligned with.
Most of the time, that means the candidate who wins the popular vote also wins the Electoral College vote.
There are 538 Electoral College voters, one per senator and representative from each state. The District of Columbia, which has no congressional representation, has three votes - the minimum.
California has 55 votes, while Texas (34) and New York (31) have the second and third most, respectively. Besides D.C., seven states have three votes.
The colleges of electors from each state meet on the same date - this year, December 13 - and vote for a president and vice president. There is no central location that the voters meet - in this case, college refers to a body of electors, not a building. Most of the 51 slates of electors meet at their respective state capitols.
There are measures to replace an original elector who cannot make it to the vote.
On January 6, the new Congress will meet in joint session to tally and announce the vote. If no candidate has a majority of the electoral votes, the House of Representatives picks the president and the Senate chooses the vice president.
The House of Representatives has not voted on a president since 1824, when Andrew Jackson won a plurality - but not majority - in the Electoral College. The House voted for John Quincy Adams, who became the sixth president.
Generally speaking, a candidate who has the most popular votes in a state also receives all of its electoral votes. Two states, however, can split their electoral college. Maine and Nebraska apportion their votes between congressional district and two at-large votes. Yet neither state has ever split its electoral vote.
Changes to the 2004 Electoral College
Because the apportionment of Electoral College voters is based indirectly on the Census, several states have gained or lost votes for the 2004 and 2008 elections. Florida, a key state in 2000, cast 25 electoral votes that year; this year it will have 27.
Other states with more votes: Arizona (+2), California (+1), Colorado (+1), Florida (+2), Georgia (+2), Nevada (+1), North Carolina (+1) and Texas (+2).
States with fewer votes: Connecticut (-1), Illinois (-1), Indiana (-1), Michigan (-1), Mississippi (-1), New York (-2), Ohio (-1), Oklahoma (-1), Pennsylvania (-2) and Wisconsin (-1).
On Election Day, Coloradoans will vote on whether to change immediately the winner-takes-all-votes approach to one tied to the state's overall popular vote. Colorado has nine electoral votes.
In 2000, President Bush won the state; under the proposed format, he would have won only five of its electoral votes and would have lost the election.
When and why the college was created
The Electoral College was established in 1787. The men who drafted the Constitution debated several formats for electing the president and vice president -- having Congress vote, having the state legislatures choose, using a direct popular vote -- before deciding on the Electoral College format.
In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton wrote: "A small number of persons, selected by their fellow citizens from the general mass, will be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations."
Under the initial system, each elector had two votes. The candidate with the most votes was elected president; whoever won the second-highest number of votes was elected vice president. That was changed by the 12th Amendment, ratified in 1804.
Several early elections had problems, primarily because of the number of political parties in the new country and the difficulty of winning a majority of votes. After the contentious election of 1824, there were a few problems with the vote-counting process, but not with the Electoral College process.
What if things go wrong?
The magic number of Electoral College votes is 270. If none of the presidential candidates receives a majority of votes November 2, the newly elected House of Representatives will pick the president from the top three Electoral College vote-getters. In that case, each state's delegation would pick a candidate as a bloc. The winner would require at least 26 votes to be elected.
Under the same scenario, the Senate would choose the vice president - from the top two Electoral College vote-getters for that office -- with each senator casting one vote. That leaves open the possibility that the president and vice president could be from different parties.
There is also the chance that an Electoral College voter could cast a ballot for a different candidate. Most of the time that is not a problem because of the great measures the parties go through to select the electors.
The two most common ways to choose the nominees to the college are by state party convention (36 states use this method) or by state party committee (10 states and the District of Columbia use this method).
There have been times when a so-called "faithless elector" bucked the system.
In 2000, one of the District of Columbia voters turned in a blank ballot. Barbara Lett-Simmons told The Washington Post "it is an opportunity for us to make blatantly clear our colonial status and the fact that we've been under an oligarchy."
Lett-Simmons was required by D.C. law to vote for the candidate who received the most popular votes. Twenty-six states have similar laws. In 24 states, electors may vote for any candidate.
On a few occasions, a "faithless elector" has voted for another candidate. In 1988, a voter from West Virginia cast a ballot for Lloyd Bentsen instead of Michael Dukakis. In 1976, an elector from Washington voted for Ronald Reagan instead of Gerald Ford.
Although some states threaten "faithless electors" with penalties, no one has ever been prosecuted.
Google on the go
Google has made it possible to get search results by sending a query via a text message on your mobile phone. Text the work "help" to 46645 (GOOGL on most phones) for instructions. [Google SMS]
...International Moment Of Frustration Scream Day
What They Said:
John Kerry says Great Ad on 10/14/2004
Not a Democrat says W on 10/14/2004
Local Copy of the JK Ad says MGMT on 10/14/2004
The John Kerry Ad - Right Click and Save As Please!
Joke Of The Day
A man is driving down the road and breaks down near a monastery. He goes to the monastery, knocks on the door, and says, "My car broke down. Do you think I could stay the night?" The monks graciously accept him, feed him dinner, even fix his car. As the man tries to fall asleep, he hears a strange sound. The next morning, he asks the monks what the sound was, but they say, "We can't tell you. You're not a monk." The man is disappointed but thanks them anyway and goes about his merry way.
Some years later, the same man breaks down in front of the same monastery. The monks accept him, feed him, even fix his car. That night, he hears the same strange noise that he had heard years earlier. The next morning, he asks what it was, but the monks reply, "We can't tell you. You're not a monk."
The man says, "All right, all right. I'm dying to know. If the only way I can find out what that sound was is to become a monk, how do I become a monk?"
The monks reply, "You must travel the earth and tell us how many blades of grass there are and the exact number of sand pebbles. When you find these numbers, you will become a monk."
The man sets about his task. Forty five years later, he returns and knocks on the door of the monastery. He says, "I have travelled the earth and have found what you have asked for. There are 145,236,284,232 blades of grass and 231,281,219,999,129,382 sand pebbles on the earth."
The monks reply, "Congratulations. You are now a monk. We shall now show you the way to the sound." The monks lead the man to a wooden door, where the head monk says, "The sound is right behind that door."
The man reaches for the knob, but the door is locked. He says, "Real funny. May I have the key?" The monks give him the key, and he opens the door. Behind the wooden door is another door made of stone. The man demands the key to the stone door. The monks give him the key, and he opens it, only to find a door made of ruby. He demands another key from the monks, who provide it. Behind that door is another door, this one made of sapphire. So it went until the man had gone through doors of emerald, silver, topaz, and amethyst.
Finally, the monks say, "This is the last key to the last door." The man is relieved to no end. He unlocks the door, turns the knob, and behind that door he is amazed to find the source of that strange sound.
But I can't tell you what it is, because you're not a monk.
Do not fear death so much, but rather the inadequate life.
-- Bertolt Brecht, The Mother, 1932
A ticket for 140MPH Over
Minnesota trooper writes 205 mph speeding ticket
WABASHA, Minn. (AP) — With a State Patrol airplane overhead, a Stillwater motorcyclist hit the throttle and possibly set the informal record for the fastest speeding ticket in Minnesota history: 205 mph.
On Saturday afternoon, State Patrol pilot Al Loney was flying near Wabasha, in southeastern Minnesota on the Wisconsin border, watching two motorcyclists racing along U.S. Highway 61.
When one of the riders shot forward, Loney was ready with his stopwatch. He clicked it once when the motorcycle reached a white marker on the road and again a quarter-mile later. The watch read 4.39 seconds, which Loney calculated to be 205 mph.
"I was in total disbelief," Loney told the St. Paul Pioneer Press for Tuesday's editions. "I had to double-check my watch because in 27 years I'd never seen anything move that fast."
What They Said:
RantUser says No Way Man on 10/12/2004
Just no ways
POSSIBLY TOO MUCH TRUCK. LIKE THAT’S A PROBLEM.
Your eyes don’t deceive you. It’s a pickup truck. From International. Which makes it much more than a pickup truck. It’s an International®CXT – born out of the proven International 7300 severe service truck used by professionals for the most rugged applications.
Called CXT, for commercial extreme truck, it dwarfs the beefy Hummer H2 sport-utility pickup and even could call the hulking H1 military version "junior."
The CXT is 2 feet taller, 4½ feet longer, twice as heavy and totes more than five times the cargo weight of H2. "You can put the Hummer in back and take it with you," quips Nick Matich, vice president at International Truck and Engine.
The tag line I heard yesterday was "For those people where a Hummer is just not enough." I wonder who the hell that is?
What They Said:
BBS says EEGADS! on 9/16/2004
BBS again says Oh here it is on 9/16/2004
It's also about twice the price of H2, about the same as H1. It starts at $93,000, runs $105,000 typically equipped and tops out at $115,000 with DVD player, leather upholstery, tilting dump box and rear-view camera.
Guinness World Records
FASTEST TALKER: In 1995, Canadian Sean Shannon recited Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy, 260 words, in 23.8secs
HAIRIEST FAMILY: Mexicans Victor and Gabriel Ramos Gomez have 98% of their bodies covered in fur.
LONGEST TIME WITH A NAIL IN THE HEAD: Robin Hanshaw of Stoke Poges, Bucks, had a one-inch rusty nail stuck between his ear and eye for 22 years.
FASTEST TIME TO TYPE A MILLION: Between 1982 and 1998, Aussie Les Stewart typed the numbers one to one million in words.
Nothing to hide...
Kerry, who admits he has nothing to hide, hasn't taken questions from his press corps in a month.
Since early August, the only substantive policy question Mr. Kerry has answered was one lobbed at him by an ABC correspondent about whether he wanted to respond to Vice President Dick Cheney's charge that Mr. Kerry wanted to wage a more "sensitive" war on terror.
I have some GMail invites to give away. Anyone interested? Lemme know.
M & M''s With A Purpose
Join M&M's® Brand and Support the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and M&M's has created a speacila pacakge of pink and white M&M's® Milk Chocolate Candies to symbolize their commitment to the cause.
For each package sold, M&M's® Brand will make a 50¢ donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
[M&M's] [The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation]
Get out the flannel
LEWISTON, Maine (AP) - Gas up the snowblower but don't put away your umbrella: The Farmers' Almanac is predicting a wild winter with heavy precipitation and dramatic temperature swings in the Northeast.
[The Farmers Almanac]
8th Grade Final Exam
Grammar (Time, 1 hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.
Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts. Per bu., deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft long at $20 per yard?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per are, the distance around which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.
U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607 1620 1800 1849 1865
Geography (Time, one hour)
1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of North America.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.
Could You Have Passed the 8th Grade in 1895?
What They Said:
BBS says Nope on 8/31/2004
LBF says Hmmm on 9/9/2004
I checked this out on line to try and cheat..check www.snopes.com seems to be a "fake" exam.
Belated Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday Dad!
Fierce wind and rain ripped through Franklin and Wrentham Saturday, leaving dozens of homeowners cleaning up yesterday and wondering if they were hit by a small tornado.
[Milford Daily News]
What They Said:
LBF says Happy B day dad on 8/24/2004
Yes..of course..happy b'day.