In part one of how the US Election System works, we looked at the qualification needed for one to run for a US presidential seat. We also had a look at the important dates from now till the election date. We saw that voting will be done on 8th November (Tuesday). In this part two, we will continue from where we left off by understanding how the votes in November work.
How the November votes work?
The candidate that gains the highest votes in each state becomes the candidate whom that state supports to run for presidency.
Everything goes down to the Electoral College, a group of 538 people that select the winner. Only 270 of them are needed to make a president.
Because the sizes of the states differ, they will all get different say in the matter. What happens is that the number of electors in each state will be determined by the size of the state.
Any time a citizen casts a vote for a preferred candidate, that voter is basically voting for the electors.
The interesting bit is that a winner in a given state takes all the electors of that state. For instance, a winner in New York will get the votes of all the 29 votes of New York electoral votes.
As the candidates compete for the magic number, 270, the swing states are more important.
What do we mean by swing states?
Here is a situation where we have two candidates, all competing for 270 number by winning a whole state.
Both sides are of the opinion that they can bank on given states, small or big. Democrats will bank on California and not waste a lot of campaign money there. Similarly, the Texas will do for the Republicans.
The others are referred to as swing states where the votes can go in any direction. In the case of Florida that has 29 votes, they famously decided the presidency of George W. Bush in 2000. He lost the national votes but due to a Supreme Court case, he got the Electoral College.
The US swing states are Colorado, Ohio, Virginia, Nevada, and North Carolina.
When will the president begin functioning?
Days and weeks after the election has been conducted and there is a decisive vote, the winner will put together a cabinet and start establishing a thorough policy agenda.
On the other side, the outgoing president works to maintain his legacy and starts to get ready to leave the office.
The US constitution states that a presidential vote victor is inaugurated on 20th of January the next year after the election.