full transcript

From the Ted Talk by Christina Greer: Does your vote count? The Electoral College explained

Unscramble the Blue Letters

Most people have heard of the Electoral College during presidential election years. But what exactly is the Electoral College? Simply said, it is a guorp of polepe anpitepod by each state who formally elect the pserneidt and Vice President of the United States. To understand how this process began and how it continues today, we can look at the Constitution of the United States: article two, section one, caluse two of the constitution. It specifies how many electors each state is entitled to have. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election. How do they decide on the number 538? Well, the number of electors is equal to the total voting membership of the United States cgroesns. 435 representatives, plus 100 senators, and 3 electors from the District of Columbia. Essentially, the Democratic candidate and Republican candidate are each trying to add up the electors in every state so that they supasrs 270 electoral votes, or just over half the 538 votes, and win the presidency. So how do states even get electoral votes? Each state receives a particular nebumr of electors based on population size. The cuenss is conducted every 10 years, so every time the census happens, states might gain or lose a few electoral votes. Let's say you're a voter in California, a state with 55 electoral veots. If your candidate wins in California, they get all 55 of the state's electoral votes. If your ctnadiade loses, they get none. This is why many pdeistrinael candidates want to win stteas like taxes, Florida, and New York. If you currently add up the electoral votes of those three states, you would have 96 electoral votes. Even if a candidate won North dkoata, South Dakota, Montana, womynig, Vermont, New Hampshire. Connecticut and West Virginia, they would only gain 31 electoral votes total from those eight states. Here is where it can get a little tricky. On a rare occasion, like in the year 2000, someone can win the popular vote but fail to gain 270 electoral votes. This means that the winner may have won and collected their electoral votes by small mairgns, winning just enough states with just enough electoral votes, but the losing candidate may have captured large voter margins in the remaining states. If this is the case, the very lrgae margins secured by the losing candidate in the other states would add up to over 50% of the ballots cast nationally. Therefore, the lsinog candidate may have gained more than 50% of the ballots cast by voters, but filead to gain 270 of the electoral votes. Some critics of the electoral college argue the system gives an unfair advantage to states with large numbers of eercalotl votes. Think of it this way. It is possible for a candidate to not get a snglie person's vote — not one vote — in 39 states, or the District of Columbia, yet be elected president by winning the popular vote in just 11 of these 12 states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, nrtoh Carolina, Georgia or viiirgna. This is why both parties pay attention to these states. However, others argue that the electoral college protects smlal states such as Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire, and even geographically large states with small pipunoatlos like Alaska, Wyoming and the Dakotas. That's because a candidate can't completely ignore small states, because in a close election, every electoral vote counts. There are certain states that have a long history of voting for a particular party. These are known as "safe states." For the past four election cycles — in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 — Democrats could count on states like Oregon, Maryland, mgcihain and mcteatsassuhs, whereas the Republicans could cnuot on states like Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and Idaho. States that are teetering between between parties are called "swing states." In the past four election cycles, Ohio and frdlioa have been swing states, twice providing electoral votes for a Democratic candidate, and twice providing electoral votes for a Republican candidate. Think about it. Do you live in a safe state? If so, is it a Democratic or Republican safe state? Do you live in a swing state? Are your neighboring states swing or safe? Is the population in your satte icsineanrg or decreasing? And do not forget, when you are watching the electoral rerunts on eiocletn night every four years and the big map of the United States is on the screen, know that the magic number is 270 and start ainddg.

Open Cloze

Most people have heard of the Electoral College during presidential election years. But what exactly is the Electoral College? Simply said, it is a _____ of ______ _________ by each state who formally elect the _________ and Vice President of the United States. To understand how this process began and how it continues today, we can look at the Constitution of the United States: article two, section one, ______ two of the constitution. It specifies how many electors each state is entitled to have. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election. How do they decide on the number 538? Well, the number of electors is equal to the total voting membership of the United States ________. 435 representatives, plus 100 senators, and 3 electors from the District of Columbia. Essentially, the Democratic candidate and Republican candidate are each trying to add up the electors in every state so that they _______ 270 electoral votes, or just over half the 538 votes, and win the presidency. So how do states even get electoral votes? Each state receives a particular ______ of electors based on population size. The ______ is conducted every 10 years, so every time the census happens, states might gain or lose a few electoral votes. Let's say you're a voter in California, a state with 55 electoral _____. If your candidate wins in California, they get all 55 of the state's electoral votes. If your _________ loses, they get none. This is why many ____________ candidates want to win ______ like _____, Florida, and New York. If you currently add up the electoral votes of those three states, you would have 96 electoral votes. Even if a candidate won North ______, South Dakota, Montana, _______, Vermont, New Hampshire. Connecticut and West Virginia, they would only gain 31 electoral votes total from those eight states. Here is where it can get a little tricky. On a rare occasion, like in the year 2000, someone can win the popular vote but fail to gain 270 electoral votes. This means that the winner may have won and collected their electoral votes by small _______, winning just enough states with just enough electoral votes, but the losing candidate may have captured large voter margins in the remaining states. If this is the case, the very _____ margins secured by the losing candidate in the other states would add up to over 50% of the ballots cast nationally. Therefore, the ______ candidate may have gained more than 50% of the ballots cast by voters, but ______ to gain 270 of the electoral votes. Some critics of the electoral college argue the system gives an unfair advantage to states with large numbers of _________ votes. Think of it this way. It is possible for a candidate to not get a ______ person's vote — not one vote — in 39 states, or the District of Columbia, yet be elected president by winning the popular vote in just 11 of these 12 states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, _____ Carolina, Georgia or ________. This is why both parties pay attention to these states. However, others argue that the electoral college protects _____ states such as Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire, and even geographically large states with small ___________ like Alaska, Wyoming and the Dakotas. That's because a candidate can't completely ignore small states, because in a close election, every electoral vote counts. There are certain states that have a long history of voting for a particular party. These are known as "safe states." For the past four election cycles — in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 — Democrats could count on states like Oregon, Maryland, ________ and _____________, whereas the Republicans could _____ on states like Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and Idaho. States that are teetering between between parties are called "swing states." In the past four election cycles, Ohio and _______ have been swing states, twice providing electoral votes for a Democratic candidate, and twice providing electoral votes for a Republican candidate. Think about it. Do you live in a safe state? If so, is it a Democratic or Republican safe state? Do you live in a swing state? Are your neighboring states swing or safe? Is the population in your _____ __________ or decreasing? And do not forget, when you are watching the electoral _______ on ________ night every four years and the big map of the United States is on the screen, know that the magic number is 270 and start ______.

Solution

  1. votes
  2. election
  3. adding
  4. small
  5. populations
  6. states
  7. margins
  8. florida
  9. north
  10. congress
  11. state
  12. clause
  13. people
  14. texas
  15. michigan
  16. candidate
  17. massachusetts
  18. president
  19. virginia
  20. losing
  21. surpass
  22. presidential
  23. failed
  24. increasing
  25. returns
  26. appointed
  27. number
  28. group
  29. census
  30. large
  31. wyoming
  32. dakota
  33. single
  34. count
  35. electoral

Original Text

Most people have heard of the Electoral College during presidential election years. But what exactly is the Electoral College? Simply said, it is a group of people appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States. To understand how this process began and how it continues today, we can look at the Constitution of the United States: article two, section one, clause two of the constitution. It specifies how many electors each state is entitled to have. Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election. How do they decide on the number 538? Well, the number of electors is equal to the total voting membership of the United States Congress. 435 representatives, plus 100 senators, and 3 electors from the District of Columbia. Essentially, the Democratic candidate and Republican candidate are each trying to add up the electors in every state so that they surpass 270 electoral votes, or just over half the 538 votes, and win the presidency. So how do states even get electoral votes? Each state receives a particular number of electors based on population size. The census is conducted every 10 years, so every time the census happens, states might gain or lose a few electoral votes. Let's say you're a voter in California, a state with 55 electoral votes. If your candidate wins in California, they get all 55 of the state's electoral votes. If your candidate loses, they get none. This is why many presidential candidates want to win states like Texas, Florida, and New York. If you currently add up the electoral votes of those three states, you would have 96 electoral votes. Even if a candidate won North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, New Hampshire. Connecticut and West Virginia, they would only gain 31 electoral votes total from those eight states. Here is where it can get a little tricky. On a rare occasion, like in the year 2000, someone can win the popular vote but fail to gain 270 electoral votes. This means that the winner may have won and collected their electoral votes by small margins, winning just enough states with just enough electoral votes, but the losing candidate may have captured large voter margins in the remaining states. If this is the case, the very large margins secured by the losing candidate in the other states would add up to over 50% of the ballots cast nationally. Therefore, the losing candidate may have gained more than 50% of the ballots cast by voters, but failed to gain 270 of the electoral votes. Some critics of the electoral college argue the system gives an unfair advantage to states with large numbers of electoral votes. Think of it this way. It is possible for a candidate to not get a single person's vote — not one vote — in 39 states, or the District of Columbia, yet be elected president by winning the popular vote in just 11 of these 12 states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia or Virginia. This is why both parties pay attention to these states. However, others argue that the electoral college protects small states such as Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire, and even geographically large states with small populations like Alaska, Wyoming and the Dakotas. That's because a candidate can't completely ignore small states, because in a close election, every electoral vote counts. There are certain states that have a long history of voting for a particular party. These are known as "safe states." For the past four election cycles — in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 — Democrats could count on states like Oregon, Maryland, Michigan and Massachusetts, whereas the Republicans could count on states like Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and Idaho. States that are teetering between between parties are called "swing states." In the past four election cycles, Ohio and Florida have been swing states, twice providing electoral votes for a Democratic candidate, and twice providing electoral votes for a Republican candidate. Think about it. Do you live in a safe state? If so, is it a Democratic or Republican safe state? Do you live in a swing state? Are your neighboring states swing or safe? Is the population in your state increasing or decreasing? And do not forget, when you are watching the electoral returns on election night every four years and the big map of the United States is on the screen, know that the magic number is 270 and start adding.

Frequently Occurring Word Combinations

ngrams of length 2

collocation frequency
electoral votes 12
electoral college 3
united states 3
losing candidate 3
presidential election 2
republican candidate 2
popular vote 2
ballots cast 2
providing electoral 2

ngrams of length 3

collocation frequency
providing electoral votes 2

Important Words

  1. add
  2. adding
  3. advantage
  4. alabama
  5. alaska
  6. appointed
  7. argue
  8. article
  9. attention
  10. ballots
  11. based
  12. began
  13. big
  14. california
  15. called
  16. candidate
  17. candidates
  18. captured
  19. carolina
  20. case
  21. cast
  22. census
  23. clause
  24. close
  25. collected
  26. college
  27. columbia
  28. completely
  29. conducted
  30. congress
  31. connecticut
  32. constitution
  33. continues
  34. count
  35. counts
  36. critics
  37. cycles
  38. dakota
  39. dakotas
  40. decide
  41. decreasing
  42. democratic
  43. democrats
  44. district
  45. elect
  46. elected
  47. election
  48. electoral
  49. electors
  50. entitled
  51. equal
  52. essentially
  53. fail
  54. failed
  55. florida
  56. forget
  57. formally
  58. gain
  59. gained
  60. geographically
  61. georgia
  62. group
  63. hampshire
  64. heard
  65. history
  66. idaho
  67. ignore
  68. illinois
  69. increasing
  70. island
  71. jersey
  72. kansas
  73. large
  74. live
  75. long
  76. lose
  77. loses
  78. losing
  79. magic
  80. map
  81. margins
  82. maryland
  83. massachusetts
  84. means
  85. membership
  86. michigan
  87. mississippi
  88. montana
  89. nationally
  90. neighboring
  91. night
  92. north
  93. number
  94. numbers
  95. occasion
  96. ohio
  97. oregon
  98. parties
  99. party
  100. pay
  101. pennsylvania
  102. people
  103. popular
  104. population
  105. populations
  106. presidency
  107. president
  108. presidential
  109. process
  110. protects
  111. providing
  112. rare
  113. receives
  114. remaining
  115. representatives
  116. republican
  117. republicans
  118. returns
  119. rhode
  120. safe
  121. screen
  122. section
  123. secured
  124. senators
  125. simply
  126. single
  127. size
  128. small
  129. south
  130. specifies
  131. start
  132. state
  133. states
  134. surpass
  135. swing
  136. system
  137. teetering
  138. texas
  139. time
  140. today
  141. total
  142. tricky
  143. understand
  144. unfair
  145. united
  146. vermont
  147. vice
  148. virginia
  149. vote
  150. voter
  151. voters
  152. votes
  153. voting
  154. watching
  155. west
  156. win
  157. winner
  158. winning
  159. wins
  160. won
  161. wyoming
  162. year
  163. years
  164. york