Skip to main content

We Do Not Vote for the President

I'm just an ordinary citizen that likes to express my opinions.


I've Been Misled

If you are like me, you have been misled concerning the presidential election process. All of my life I thought that the people voted for the president. In fact, the popular vote wasn't implemented until the 1824 election.

While I knew the Electoral College played a part, I didn't know how big a part it played until the last fiasco that Donald Trump caused. Like many people, we saw the full process of confirming the presidential election on television and how the Electoral College plays the biggest role in the final decision.

The reason this process received so much media coverage compared compared to past elections was because they knew that Trump was going to do everything in his power and beyond to overturn the vote of the people by tampering with the Electoral College.

While most of us felt there was nothing he could do, he showed us just how easily the peoples' votes could be overturned. In fact, on January 6, 2021, we saw how he incited a mob into going to the Capitol building and interrupted the process of confirming the electoral votes.

While discussing this with a friend, it prompted me to become more familiar with the Constitution (I went on YouTube and listened to it being read) and I discovered that there is nothing in Constitution that gives the people the power to elect their president. It is totally up to the Electoral College.

This brought me to my research of the Electoral College process. Most of the time we forget that the people reporting the news are not experts on most subjects and we need to do our own research. So if you disagree with what I am writing, please do your own research and correct me if I'm wrong.

Who Are the Electors?

This is the most confusing part of the process. It seems that before the election, each candidate gets to select who will be the electors should he win. For a better explanation of this I went to the website of the National Archives and this is what I found:

Who selects the electors? Choosing each State's electors is a two-part process. First, the political parties in each State choose slates of potential electors sometime before the general election. Second, during the general election, the voters in each State select their State's electors by casting their ballots.

The first part of the process is controlled by the political parties in each State and varies from State to State. Generally, the parties either nominate slates of potential electors at their State party conventions or they chose them by a vote of the party's central committee. This happens in each State for each party by whatever rules the State party and (sometimes) the national party have for the process. This first part of the process results in each Presidential candidate having their own unique slate of potential electors.

Political parties often choose individuals for the slate to recognize their service and dedication to that political party. They may be State elected officials, State party leaders, or people in the State who have a personal or political affiliation with their party's Presidential candidate. (For specific information about how slates of potential electors are chosen, contact the political parties in each State.)

The second part of the process happens during the general election. When the voters in each State cast votes for the Presidential candidate of their choice they are voting to select their State's electors. The potential electors' names may or may not appear on the ballot below the name of the Presidential candidates, depending on election procedures and ballot formats in each State.

The winning Presidential candidate's slate of potential electors are appointed as the State's electors—except in Nebraska and Maine, which have proportional distribution of the electors. In Nebraska and Maine, the State winner receives two electors and the winner of each congressional district (who may be the same as the overall winner or a different candidate) receives one elector. This system permits Nebraska and Maine to award electors to more than one candidate.

So does that clear things up for you? Does this seem fair? No, it isn't—and it explains why Trump tried to have his fake electors intervene at the first confirmation vote on December 14, 2020. This is the date that the electors selected by the winning candidate actually cast their vote for the president.

Any elector can actually cast their vote for the other candidate and in some states, their vote can overrule the vote for the candidate that the people of the state voted for. To try to make this clear, you do not vote for the president, you vote for the candidate's elector who you hope will vote for your candidate. Have I confused you more? Well, let me clear this up by going back to the National Archives explanation of who you are voting for:

During the general election your vote helps determine your State’s electors. When you vote for a Presidential candidate, you aren’t actually voting for President. You are telling your State which candidate you want your State to vote for at the meeting of electors. The States use these general election results (also known as the popular vote) to appoint their electors. The winning candidate’s State political party selects the individuals who will be electors.

That's right, you are not voting for the president and if the elector decides to vote against the winner in in his electoral district, there may be nothing you can do about it. While it is highly unlikely that this will happen since the winning party chooses the electors, it has happened three times in the past, but each time their votes were overruled to protect the will of the people.

Vice President Mike Pence didn't have the power to overturn the votes, but members of Congress can lodge objections in writing to the vote of an elector in the final confirmation hearings held on January 6 following each presidential election.

This is now left up to the members of Congress to decide whether the objection will be allowed or not, not the vice president. It is better explained by the House of Representatives website:

Since 1887, 3 U.S.C. 15 has set the method for objections by Members of Congress to electoral votes. During the Joint Session, lawmakers may object to individual electoral votes or to state returns as a whole. An objection must be declared in writing and signed by at least one Representative and one Senator. In the case of an objection, the Joint Session recesses and each chamber considers the objection separately for no more than two hours; each Member may speak for five minutes or less. After each house votes on whether to accept the objection, the Joint Session reconvenes and both chambers disclose their decisions. If both chambers agree to the objection, the electoral votes in question are not counted. If either chamber opposes the objection, the votes are counted.

What the Constitution Says About Electors

Lastly, I want to confirm what the Constitution says about the electoral college. Nowhere does it mention that the public vote decides who is elected president. Let's keep in mind that there were only thirteen states when the Constitution was written and the first president that was elected was George Washington in 1789.

When the first popular vote was held in 1824, there were 24 states that comprised the United States, so the voting system that was in place wasn't designed to include the will of the people. The Electoral College might have made sense back then, but it doesn't now, not if we consider this country to be a democracy. This is what was written into the original Constitution:

Article. II. Section. 1.

The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

In the 12th amendment, which was ratified in 1804, there is very little change.

AMENDMENT XII - Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.

Note: A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th amendment.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; -- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

So you see, there is nothing in the Constitution giving the right to elect the president directly to the people. We all have seen that the term “popular vote” is meaningless when it comes to voting for the president. There have been two elections in this century where the person with the most popular votes has lost because of the Electoral College system.

We nearly saw it for a third time in 2020. Not only did Trump lose the popular vote, he lost the electoral vote as well. Not satisfied with those results, he tried to corrupt the system of the Electoral College to remain in power.

We are seeing how the Republican party is now changing the laws to make it legal for votes to be changed or thrown out, districts to be more favorable for Republican candidates to win—giving them more electoral votes—and people put in office who would be willing to change the outcome of a presidential election.

Not only that, who are these people that are appointed as electors by each party? It says we vote for them, but at the same time it says they are not appointed until after a candidate has won, based on their loyalty to the party. We have no idea who these people are. How is this a democracy? Read what it says about them voting twice on the National Archives site.

Do electors get to vote twice for President?

Electors do not vote twice for President. When they vote in the November general election, they aren’t electors yet; they are voting for themselves to be electors. They are the only ones who actually vote for President, which they do at the meeting of the electors (the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December).

How is this not voting twice? If I vote for my candidate and he wins, he can then choose me to go to the Electoral College and vote for him again because I have been loyal to his party.

Now here's the tricky part. It is this second vote that counts. So I can go to Congress and change my vote to the other candidate in December. But wait, some states say I must stick with the candidate that won my district, but if I live in a state where I can change my vote, Congress can overrule it in January.

Now I'm totally confused again, which is why we should abandon the Electoral College and just let the popular vote decide the election, like we do in every other election in the United States.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.