DemDaily: Your Election Day Primer
November 7, 2016
Over 42 million votes have already been cast, but an estimated 65% of registered voters will still vote in person at the polls tomorrow!
How does election day work? Our rundown on the process, the projections and what could happen!
The Electoral Vote
US presidential elections are based on the electoral college system, which was established by the Constitution. Each state is assigned a point value or number of electoral votes based on its population and equals the number of US House seat + the 2 Senate seats that state. The District of Columbia is also allocated 3 electoral votes.
The Electoral College
Most states have a "winner take all" system, which awards all of that state's electoral votes to the winning Presidential candidate -- to be cast by "electors" in the official tally and formally certified by Congress January 6th. The only exceptions are Nebraska and Maine, which distribute their electors proportionately.
While the actual number state for each may shift with redistricting, the total number of electors is always 538. To win on election day, a candidate must capture at least 270 of the 538 electoral votes.
In the event of a tie (269 to 269), the House of Representatives, which is currently controlled by the GOP, selects the next President of the United States.
The Popular Vote
We also tally the popular vote, which is the gross individual vote total for each candidate. The electoral vote is the ultimate decider, but the popular vote provides the demographic breakdown and performance essential to the election analysis.
While the two usually go hand-in-hand, there have been historic exceptions, including the contested 2000 Presidential election, when Democratic nominee Al Gore won the popular vote with 48.4% to George W. Bush's 47.9%, but technically (and officially, per the Supreme Court) Bush won the election with 271 electoral votes.
Most polling stations are open from 6:00am to 7:00pm on East Coast and from 7:00am (10:00am EST) to 8:00pm (11:00pm EST) on the West Coast.
Votes are cast by paper ballot, punch card or computerized optical scan or direct recording electronic systems (DREs).
Voting regulations vary in each state. Check your state laws on DemList Election Protection Connection before you go to the polls!
Counting the Vote
Paper Ballot (18 states use paper only): Ballots are read manually by bi-partisan election officials and tallied for each race. If an individual vote is unclear, an election judge makes the decision or declares it invalid.
Punch Card: Election officials open each ballot box, manually count the number of ballots and run the ballots through a mechanical punch card reader for the totals. If the number of ballots read does not match the manual count, the election judge can order a recount.Most problems occur when the ballot cards stick together, the reader malfunctions or the ballot has been damaged. In extreme cases, the election judge can order the ballots to be read manually.
Computerized Ballots (6 states use electronic only): Votes may be transmitted automatically or recorded on removable media which are transported to the central counting facility for counting.
Reporting the Vote
Voting results are counted in each state as polls close, and states are called by media outlets based on thorough analysis of early results and exit polling.
Regardless of timezone, close contests in battleground states could prolong the outcome, but once a candidate appears to have secured 270 of the 538 electoral votes, they are considered the winner.
FiveThirtyEight: Win Probability: Clinton 68% - Trump 32%
Electoral Projections: Clinton 299 to Trump 239
New York Times: Win Probability: Clinton 84% - Trump 16%
RealClearPolitics: Today's Polling Average: Clinton 45.5% - Trump 42.3%
CNN: Current Ratings: Clinton 268, Trump 204, Tossup 66
PredictIt: Clinton shares: 83 cents, Trump shares: 22 cents
(Bet on the outcome w/Predict It. Sign-up w/code DemList25 and receive a $25 match)
Tomorrow: Bullies at the Ballot Box!
As always, DemList will keep you informed.
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