Americans of all ages are unaware about what completely goes into determining who will be the next president. What determines which candidate wins the election is not how many Americans vote in their favor but how many Electoral College votes they receive. Possibly the most important part of presidential campaigns is who wins the swing states.
When asked what swing states in relation to the election are and why they are important 5 out of 10 Mary Baldwin students were unable to answer correctly. Then when asked what the importance of electoral votes is and if it is important for others to know most didn’t know exactly what they are but knew it was detrimental in picking the winner.
When asked if the importance of electoral vote should be common knowledge Jalynn Edwards, a junior at Baldwin, said “It is important for people to know the building blocks of our government.”
Swing states are those where it is uncertain which candidate will win the majority.
Yes, how many votes a candidate gets is important. But what is most important is how many electoral votes they receive. 270 electoral votes are needed in order to win the presidential campaign.
Polls are regularly taken before the election to determine which party the state is affiliated with. Predicting who is going to win the election is done by seeing which candidate each state favors. The favored party gets the state’s electoral votes.
An example in recent history was the 2000 elections with Al Gore and George W. Bush. Gore won the popularity vote by a landslide but Bush got more Electoral College votes and became president. Rarely have the electoral votes and majority votes not matched though. In fact it has only happened 4 times in US election history.
The state’s population determines how many electoral votes the state gets. Candidates get Electoral College votes depending on whether they win the popular vote in the state. States are separated into categories of either solid, lean, or toss up states.
Solid states are those that notoriously support the same party in each election. For example California is a known Democratic state and Texas is a known Republican state.
Lean states don’t support the same party every year. Also, the party in power leans towards only a slight majority rule over the other.
Toss-up states are also known as swing states. They don’t support on particular party like lean states but no one is able to conclude what candidate will win the popularity. Some states are famous for being a toss-up state. Virginia, for example, is a well-known toss up state and according to the Washington Post is the “single swingiest state in the country.”
A few of the current toss-up states for this election include Virginia, Florida, Colorado, and Nevada.
In general young Americans have a low voting rate because they believe their vote doesn’t matter among other things. However, this year, with how close the race is every vote, especially in the toss up states, will have an important impact on the results.
On Nov 6th the race to 270 will determine the next head of state.