How does the Electoral College work? Why do we Need It?

Real Estate Agent with New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County

Over the last few days surrounding the Presidential Election, questions came up about the Electoral College.  They come up every four years, like clockwork.

Most folks who wrote those comments were almost unanimous in saying that the Electoral College was out-dated, and that we no longer need it. 

I think the Electoral College had many good points to it, and think it should be kept... so I will share a few ideas I have about it.

First of all, that fountain of knowledge Wikipedia can tell you all you would ever want to know, and more, about the Electoral College.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say about the Electoral College.  Here is another article about the Origin and History of The Electoral College.

And here is a great explanation by Mitchell Hall which appears as a comment on a recent post.  Please read Mitchell's explanation... it is excellent!

And finally, here is my idea on the Electoral College... but given in the context of NFL Football.  Yes, I know... it's another one of Karen Anne's "off the wall" explanations, but I think it may add a very basic "feel" of the intent of the Electoral College:

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In comparing the Electoral College to NFL Football... it's not all that important as to how many points a team scores in a season, but how many games they win.

There are 16 games in a season in Football. I will use two NFL teams in my little anecdote... the Romney Patriots and the Obama Bears.

Let us imagine that during one season... the Romney Patriots... scored 300 total points and have a 10-6 record.  In many of their games... they blow out the other team, and score lots of points.  (more offense, less defense)

Let us also imagine that our other team... the Obama Bears... would score fewer points during that season... let's say they score 250 points... but they have a 12-4 record.  (less offense, much better defense)

So... which team wins the division crown?  The team that scores the most points (300), but their won/lost record (10-6), although good, is not the best, or the other team... which has not scored as many points (250)... but their won/lost record is better... (12-4).

The better record wins, not necessarily the team with the most points.  I am suggesting that the record takes the place of the Electoral College votes, and the most points takes the place of having the greatest popular votes total.

Now comes the inevitable question:  Does any of this make any sense to anyone else besides me?  LOL !

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Comments (47)

Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660
Karen, those comments who profess to know little about football crack me up. It strikes me as willful ignorance. Your analogy applies to baseball, soccer, rugby, lacrosse...and the like. There is, however, a sound sport's analogy to support the popular vote, but I'm not inclined to make it. I'm content with your analogy and its result. Brian
Nov 28, 2012 08:59 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Brian, I used Football as my example because we are in the middle of the NFL Football season.  Also, Romney was from Massachusetts, so the New England Patriots became the Romney Patriots, and with Obama being from Chicago, the Chicago Bears became the Obama Bears.

I was attempting to be both timely and cute.

Also... as far as those who said they didn't know much about football... why not take them at their word.  Actually, I don't really like football.  A bunch of juiced-up men line up, charge into each other... hurt whoever they can, and then do it all over again.  Too violent for me.  And... with very little attention paid to the injuries the former players have to endure for the rest of their lives.

Nov 28, 2012 11:24 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Karen Anne, I liked the football analogy for the Electorcal College-very clever.

Nov 29, 2012 04:14 PM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Thanks, Michelle.  I tried to come up with some way that lots of folks could relate to, and connecting Obama and the Chicago Bears with Romney and the New England Patriots, and then the won and lost records just seemed to make lots of sense.  I am glad it worked for you, and for so many others, it appears.  Have a great week!

Nov 29, 2012 04:42 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Isn't it funny that no one gets excited about the system until election time. We have 39 counties and all ballot measures go through King County (39% of the population for the state). Which ever way King County votes so goes the state of Washington.

Nov 30, 2012 05:39 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Karen Anne I always laugh( because it is better than crying) when people have no idea how the Electoral College works and they get mad when they find out that it did not help their candidate....but like Paul said above you do not hear them complaining until it is election night! BTW loved your Football Analogy, if they would teach it is school like this maybe people would remember:)))

Nov 30, 2012 09:57 AM
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA


I was wondering if perhaps it may be time to revamp the Electoral College -- like down to the congressional distirct. Instead of awarding all the points to one party, it can be distributed based on how the district votes. It's at least closer to the popular vote.

Hence, Texas won't be all red, and California won't all be blue.

Dec 01, 2012 02:48 PM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Pacita, I understand what you are saying, but think of it in terms of my NFL example.  Does a team that beats another team by the score of 30 to 15... do they win one game, or do they win 30/45th of a game... which is two-thirds of a game?

That is not the way our founding fathers (and mothers) put it together.  If I may, I suggest you read the linked articles in my post for a better, more thorough explanation.

Dec 01, 2012 06:26 PM
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Karen --

Thanks....I have read about the Electoral College, and the various arguments for and against it (especially after what happened in 2000) and I think 2-3 times before that where the popular vote didn't decide the president. Which is why I had thought that to satisfy both sides,  the votes should be taken down to the congressional district level, just like they have for Nebraska and Maine. How were these states able to make that change, but the other 48 didn't?

Dec 02, 2012 11:13 AM
Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner - Anderson, SC
Selling the Upstate since 1989

love the NFL analogy!! One of the best explanations I have heard :)

Dec 02, 2012 12:19 PM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Hey Karen -  I had to come check on you.... .It's been too long since I've seen you around.  Just checking to make sure you're okay and hope you're looking forward to a wonderful Christmas. 

Dec 04, 2012 01:36 PM
Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

You might get a kick out of my latest blog on the doctor's advice for avoiding the flu. I just thought I would share this with you.

Love ya. Hope you have a great holiday season.

Dec 07, 2012 03:16 PM
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Karen, there is a lot of talk about changing the Electoral College...I am not sure what would be best for our country. I will read the links you provided. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

Dec 10, 2012 10:59 PM
Rose King
David Tracy Real Estate - Friendswood, TX
Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area

Hi Karen Anne! I just wanted to stop in to say hi and thank you for commenting on my post. Have a great day!

Dec 12, 2012 10:59 AM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Here you go Karen... Ask and ye shall receive :)  Turn on your speakers.  Hope you're gearing up for a wonderful Christmas my friend.

Dec 12, 2012 02:15 PM
Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

Karen Anne,

              Just stopped by to say Hello hope all is going well!

Dec 14, 2012 06:31 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Karen Anne,

I like John and Yolanda was just checking in to say hello and wish you a Merry Christmas! Always like to read your posts!!

Dec 16, 2012 09:34 PM
Jerry Newman
Brown Realty, 210-789-4216, - San Antonio, TX
Texas REALTOR, San Antonio Military Relocation

Hi Karen Anne, I am just stopping by to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Not sure what to do with our electoral college system of voting. But, back to Football. Do you think the Cowboys will make it to the playoffs this year? Last week it was a Three Way tie for their division.

Dec 20, 2012 12:42 AM
Juli Vosmik
Dominion Fine Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739

Karen Anne - I was wondering the very same myself last month.  Sorry I didn't comment until know, but I wanted to take the time to stop by and wish you a very Merry Christmas. 

Dec 23, 2012 07:41 AM
Marshall Enterprises
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Antiques, Lawn Care, and Trashouts

I definitely am against Pacita's proposition.  But, that said, your analogy was great.  And, it makes sense to me, too.  Thanks!

Dec 26, 2012 06:26 AM

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