The US Electoral System/ UK comparison

What is the US electoral system?
The Electoral College
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How does it work?
Each state is respobsible for creating their own voting systems e.g postal ballot, touch screen systems. Each state is allocated a certain number of EC votes proportionally e.g California has 55 and Wyoming has 3.
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How many EC votes does a candidate need to win?
270 out of a possible 538. In 2016, Trump gained 306 and Clinton 232.
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What is a strength of the Electoral College? (1)
Preserves the voice of small-population states: without the EC small states (Montana, North Dakota, Delaware) would be overpowered by larger states (Texas, NY, California.
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What is a strength of the Electoral College? (2)
Promotes a two horse race: The EC practically eliminates minority parties. 11/17 elections since WW1 have had over 50% of the popular vote. Yet Clinton won the popular vote by 2.9m (2016) but not the presidency.
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What is a strength of the Electoral College? (3)
Everyone's President: The EC requires a candidate to achieve trans-regional appeal. No region/state has enough EC votes to elect a president alone.
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What is a weakness of the Electoral College? (1)
Small states over represented: Regardless of its size, every state has at least 3 EC votes. 2012 - California had 55 EC votes ( 1 EC vote represented 675,000) Wyoming receives 1 vote for 185,000. Arguably a vote in Wyoming is more influential.
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What is a weakness of the Electoral College? (2)
Popular vote doesn't reflect the outcome: candidates can secure the presidency without majority backing. 1996 - Bill Clinton won just 49% of popular vote but 70% of the EC. 2016 - Hillary Clinton won 2.9m more votes than Trump but not the presidency.
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What is a weakness of the Electoral College? (3)
Existence of 'rogue electors': who in many states don't have to cast their ballots for the state-wide popular vote. Millions of votes go to waste. 2016 - 5 rogue electors, 3 turned against Clinton and 2 against Trump.
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Similarities to FPTP
Both used aspects of regional recognition: states in the US and constituencies in the UK. Both operate on a winner-takes-all system. Both have failed to elect a president or PM who has gained 50% of the popular vote.
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Differences to FPTP
US system doesn't benefit thrid parties, voters vote for a candidate rather than a party (UK). The UK does not have a primary system and the list of candidates is drawn from a constituency. US election process is long (almost 2 years), UK GE is short
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Other cards in this set

Card 2

Front

How does it work?

Back

Each state is respobsible for creating their own voting systems e.g postal ballot, touch screen systems. Each state is allocated a certain number of EC votes proportionally e.g California has 55 and Wyoming has 3.

Card 3

Front

How many EC votes does a candidate need to win?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What is a strength of the Electoral College? (1)

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

What is a strength of the Electoral College? (2)

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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