Today, the American people vote for president and vice president on Election Day. But, technically speaking, these votes don’t directly determine the outcome of the election. These popular votes determine which electors will be appointed to the Electoral College, which is made up of 538 electors drawn from the states and the District of Columbia. Each state is granted a different number of electoral votes based on the size of its congressional delegation. The electors meet after the general election to cast their votes for president and vice president.
This short video highlights the importance of popular sovereignty in the ratification debates. The people themselves, through their elected delegates in specially-called conventions, voted up or down on the new Constitution. Professor John Kaminksi notes how the Antifederalists also used the principle of popular sovereignty to justify their call for constitutional amendments.
This lesson looks at Bush v. Gore, the U.S. Supreme Court case that decided the 2000 election. First, students read about and discuss the Supreme Court case of Bush v. Gore. Then in small groups, students role play Supreme Court justices and apply Bush v. Gore to hypothetical election cases.
In 1804, the 12th Amendment was passed to require separate balloting for president and vice president. In spite of the 12th Amendment, deadlocks can occur. Such was the case in the election of 1824, and the House of Representatives once again was forced to choose.
This deliberation has students view C-SPAN video clips to learn about the history and Constitutional background of the Electoral College. Students will also explore arguments for and against reforming the Electoral College. Using this information, students will develop and argue their position on the question: Should the Electoral College Be Reformed?