“Recount” – Questions and answers

What is the Electoral College? The electoral college is a system used in the United States of America in order to indirectly choose the President. People vote for electors that represents their state, and it is the number of electors that decide who is becoming the next President. When a party has received over 270 electoral votes, they have won the election.

Why do we have an Electoral College and why was it considered necessary? Using the Electoral College the voters doesn’t choose directly who should lead the country, but choose representatives that choose for them. This system goes back to the founders’ distrust of democracy. The founders, such as Alexander Hamilton explained the system as necessary because he doesn’t trust the decision to the people themselves. The point of the system is to preserve “the sense of the people”, in addition to ensure that the President is chosen “by men most capable of analyzing the qualities adapted to the station, and acting under circumstances favorable to deliberation, and to a judicious combination of all the reasons and inducements which were proper to govern their choice.” (FactCheck, 2008).

What is the official procedure for presidential elections? Illustrate an approximate timeline of key events in any given presidential election year. To run for office, a person needs to meet three basic requirements established. By the U.S Consitution (Article 2, Section 1) a president candidate must be a natural born citizen, at least 35 years old and been a U.S resident for at least 14 years.

  • Step 1: Primaries and caucuses. People with similar ideas usually belong to the same political party, Many people want to be President, but there are only two parties in America, the democrats and republicans, therefore they campaign around the country and compete to try to win their party’s nomination. Party members then vote in a state election for the candidate they want to represent their party in the general election.
  • Step 2:  National Convention and General Election. After the primaries and causes each major party holds a national convention in order to select a Presidential nominee. The party’s presidential nominee announces his or her choice for Vise President. Then the elected representative from both parties travel the country around campaigning. On election day, people in each state cast their vote.
  • Step 3: The Electoral College. When people vote, they don’t actually vote for the President directly, but for electors that represents the party they want to win the election. Each elector casts one vote following the general election. The candidate who gets 270 votes or more wins.

Is it possible for a president to win the popular vote but lose the election? How Yes, because of the electoral college it is highly possible for a President to win the popular vote, but lose the election. Even though one party got most votes in total, they might not get the majority of the electoral votes, and therefore lose the election to the other party with most electoral votes. The Electoral College consists of 537 electors. Each state has a number of 537 electors given relative to the number of inhabitants. In order to become the President, you have to have a majority of 270 electoral votes. Because the votes are counted state by state the total amount of votes doesn’t count, but who gets the majority in each state, as they recieve all the electors from that particular state. When one party has won the state, the other party’s vote does no longer count in the running of choosing the next President. Therefore is it much easier to win the electoral college, than the majority of the votes in total. The electoral college makes the election about winning states, not people.

Who were the candidates in the 2000 election and what happened? Al Gore and George W. Bush were the nominees in the 2000 election. Bush became the President, however Al Gore got half million more votes than the Republican opponent. This is because Gore lost the electoral college by a count of 271-267. Al Gores team tried to have a recount but when they didn’t make it in time, they stopped the recount and Bush won again. Then, Gore’s team went to court.

How was the Supreme court involved? The Supreme court was involved because the Democrats weren’t  happy with the stop of recounting votes and therefore they filed a lawsuit against the other party.
In every presidential election, the media will announce the new President and Vice President by the morning after election day; however, when is the President and Vice-President actually elected? The President and Vice-President is actually elected a long time before the election, in the beginning of the campaign.

What does it mean to “concede?” To concede means to acknowledge before it is officially established.

 

Why did Al Gore retract his concession? He did because of sporadic voter fraud reported in the key state Florida. Florida has a winner takes it all system, and he actually won the popular vote by almost half a million voters.

 

Why would a machine recount of Florida’s ballots tally a slightly different number than the first time? The ballots were counted slightly different from time to time. Therefore, this could even out the results.

How was this a threat to the Bush campaign?This was a threat to the Bush campaign as it might mean that he would lose his Presidency, because it indicated that the votes were not counted right.

Why did the Democrats initiate a hand recount? The votes are counted by machines, and these machines have errors. This means that not every vote is counted, and this will affect the result of the election. Therefore, they wanted every vote recounted by hand.

What trend did the Democrats discover about old voting machines and the neighborhoods they serve? The Democrats discovered that the poorest neighborhoods had the oldest machines, and therefore made more mistakes during counting. This could highly affect the result of the election, as a lot of people from poorer neighborhoods were democrats.

What did the Democrats discover about voters being turned away from the polls? The list of felons was wrong, so 20 000 people were denied to vote.

Did the Republicans actively try to stop a hand recount? Why? Yes. They had already “won” the election, and risked facing a different result after a hand count.

What issues did officials encounter have with the hand recount? They had different opinions on standards of the chad.
Why did the Republicans want to count absentee ballots? The Democrats meant that every vote should value, to not “leave” any votes behind. Therefore the Republicans meant that this should go for the absentee ballots as well, where there are a lot of undervotes.

Are absentee ballots usually counted on Election Day? Yes, they are.

 

  • Our Government and the U.S. Supreme Court Decision: 

In which court did James Baker think the Republicans would definitely lose? And in which Court did he think they would be more likely to win in the long run? He thought the Republicans would definitely lose to the State Court, but win in the Supreme Court.

What did Baker mean when he suggested that “it’s time to exercise our first amendment right”? What is the first amendment? He ment to domenstrate.

What were the advisory opinions? Bush’s side: unless there was something wrong with the system of the counting machines, there was no demand for a recount. However, the Gore camp: they got their own advisory opinion, which stated the opposite.

Who represented Gore during the trials? Why was this lawyer recruited? David Boies represented Gore during the trials.

 

What is the Equal Protection Clause? The Equal Protection Clause is part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The clause, which took effect in 1868, provides that no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction “the equal protection of the laws”.

 

How do you feel about the fact that many counties did not run their ballots through the machines again? I think that it is bad, It it bad that a lot of people didn’t get their vote counted and therefore didn’t get the chance to participate in the election.

Do you think Democrats should have begun planning for lawsuits earlier? Yes, maybe.

Do you think the Texas voting law signed by Governor Bush helped Gore’s case or was it irrelevant to Gore winning in the Florida Supreme Court? Yeah, I think so.

 

-Ingrid.

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