How America Elects Its President
在俄爱俄州的托莱多市的代表马西 · 卡普图尔，是一位从1983年以来一直当选的代表。她对美国之音记者说，“电视台的广告、电台的广告、电话、直接敲门，人们以各种方式连珠炮式地从全国各地赶来到这里为他们的候选人竞选。”
大卫 · 科恩是阿克伦大学政治科学教授。他和其他研究人员发现，2012 年的总统候选人访问俄亥俄州更比任何其他国家。但其他国家，包括最大的加州和纽约，得到"几乎完全忽视，"科恩说。
"目前生活和红色 （共和党）州里，或蓝色（民主党）州中投票的选民，实际上是被剥夺了投票的权利，因为他们的投票并不重要。"根据 Moveon.org 网站上所刊登的一份请愿书所述。
美国企业研究所专家，诺姆 · 奥尼斯汀指出，如果改为以民众投票数来决定胜负的话，候选人就有理由不在在较小的州里进行竞选演说了。
佛罗里达州官员曾经花了几周的时间来重新数点选票。直到美国最高法院做出 5-4 决定停止重新计票。
最后，在佛罗里达州的选举学院的票都归了布什。这些选票，足以给他击败民主党候选人戈尔，从而担任美国总统，尽管戈尔全国得票统计中比布什多了 500,000 选票。
2000 年的选举只是美国所有的总统选举历史中仅有的四次，当选举总统的所得的选举学院的票数结果与民众投票得票多数者不一致的情况。其他的三次是发生在 19 世纪。
美国之音记者：布鲁斯 · 阿尔珀特报道。
The Electoral College
Americans go the polls to vote for president on November 8, but the candidate with the most votes does not automatically win. The winner is decided by the 538 members of the Electoral College.
The Electoral College does not have any students or teachers. Instead, it is a group of people who represent their states in the U.S. presidential contest.
Each state has the same number of members in the Electoral College that they have representatives in Congress. That number is decided by the state’s population.
States with the smallest number, including Alaska and Vermont, have three members of the Electoral College. The state with the largest number, California, has 55.
The U.S. Constitution, which established the Electoral College system, does not require members of the Electoral College to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their states. But they almost always do.
As a result, in most states, candidates do not benefit more by winning a larger percentage of the popular vote. So, if 99 percent of voters in California select Hillary Clinton, she will receive all of California’s 55 votes in the Electoral College. If only 51 percent of voters in California select Hillary Clinton, she will still receive all of California’s 55 Electoral College votes.
In all but two states, whether they win by 1 percent or 20 percent, candidates still get the same number of Electoral College votes.
How the Electoral College affects campaigns
The Electoral College system means that Donald Trump, the likely Republican candidate, and Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate, will not campaign in states where they think they already know who will win.
For example, Donald Trump will probably take Alaska, Idaho, and seven other states. Republicans presidential candidates there have won every election since 1968.
Hillary Clinton will probably carry Minnesota, New York, and the other six states that voted for every Democratic presidential candidate since 1988.
None is more important than Ohio. That state has voted for every winning presidential candidate since 1964.
As a result, Ohio receives a lot of attention.
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat, has represented the Ohio city of Toledo since 1983. She talked about what it is like in Ohio a few weeks before a presidential election day.
“We get a barrage of television ads, radio ads, phone calls, people knocking on our doors, and lots of people coming to our state from other parts of the country to campaign for their candidate,” Kaptur told VOA.
David Cohen is a political science professor at the University of Akron. He and other researchers found that the 2012 presidential candidates visited Ohio more than any other state. But other states, including the largest, California and New York, get “almost completely ignored,” Cohen said.
The end of the Electoral College?
Because campaigns treat the states so differently, some people argue to end the Electoral College. They want the U.S. to elect its president based on the candidate who earns the most votes across the country.
“Voters currently living and voting in a red (Republican) or blue (Democratic) state are disenfranchised, because their vote doesn't matter,” read a petition on the Moveon.org website.
But changing the American system to a popular vote would require changing the U.S. Constitution. That process is not easy.
Norm Ornstein, the American Enterprise Institute expert, points out that changing to a popular vote would also take away a reason for candidates to campaign in smaller states.
And he worries that all 50 states would fight to recount their votes in a close election.
Florida officials spent several weeks recounting the votes. The U.S. Supreme Court made a 5-4 decision to stop the recount.
In the end, Florida’s Electoral College votes went to Bush. Those votes were enough to give him the presidency over Democrat Gore, though Gore won 500,000 more votes nationally than Bush.
The 2000 election was one of only four U.S. elections when the Electoral Vote did not match the popular vote. The other times happened in the 1800s.
In one contest, neither candidate earned the required number of Electoral College votes. The House of Representatives chose the winner.
In the other two contests, one candidate was very popular with voters in a few states. But he lost to the candidate with more national appeal.
I’m Bruce Alpert.
Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
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