An electoral college
is a set of electors
who are selected to elect a candidate
to particular offices. Often these represent different organizations, political parties or entities
, with each organization, political party or entity represented by a particular number of electors or with votes
weighted in a particular way.
Origins of electoral colleges
Early Germanic law
stated that the German king led only with the support of his nobles. Thus, Pelagius
needed to be elected by his Visigothic
nobles before becoming king of Asturias
, and so did Pepin the Short
by Frankish nobles in order to become the first Carolingian king. While most other Germanic nations had developed a strictly hereditary system by the end of the first millennium, the Holy Roman Empire
did not, and the King of the Romans, who would become, by papal coronation, Holy Roman Emperor or at least Emperor-elect, was elected by the college of prince-electors
from the late Middle Ages
until 1806 (the last election
took place in 1792).
German Prince-Electors, the electoral college of the Holy Roman Empire
In the Church
, both the clergy and laity
elected the bishop or presiding presbyter
. However, for various reasons, such as a desire to reduce the influence of the state or the laity in ecclesiastical matters, electoral power became restricted to the clergy and, in the case of the Church in the West
, exclusively to a college of the canons
of the cathedral church. In the Pope
's case, the system of people and clergy was eventually replaced by a college of the important clergy of Rome, which eventually became known as the College of Cardinals
. Since 1059, it has had exclusive authority over papal selection
In the 19th century and beyond, it was usual in many countries that voters did not directly vote the members of parliament. In Prussia
for example, in 1849–1918 the voters were Urwähler
(original voters), appointing with their vote a Wahlmann
(elector). The group of electors in a district elected the deputy for the Prussian House of Representatives
. Such indirect suffrage
was a means to steer the voting, to make sure that the electors were "able" persons. For electors, the requirements were usually higher than for the original voters. The left wing opposition was very much opposed to indirect suffrage.
Even today in the Netherlands, the deputies of the First Chamber
are elected by the provincial parliaments. Those provincial parliaments form the many electoral colleges for the First Chamber elections; the lists of candidates are national.
Modern electoral colleges
United States presidential election votes by state, 2012
In the sovereign Holy See
, with the Vatican City
as sovereign territory, the members of the College of Cardinals
under the age of 80 elect the pope
in a papal conclave
. The pope being the chief executive of the Vatican, the election of the pope serves as the selection of the executive authority.
The breakdown of votes in the U.S. Electoral College after reapportionment based on the 2010 census.
The United States Electoral College
is an example of a system in which an executive president
is indirectly elected
with electors representing the 50 states
and the District of Columbia
. The votes of the public determine electors, who formally choose the president through the electoral college. Each state has a number of electors equal to its Congressional representation (in both houses), with the non-state District of Columbia
receiving the number it would have if it were a state, but in no case more than that of the least populous state.
Under this system, the electors generally cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote in their respective states.
However, there are several states where this is not required by law. In the United States, 270 electoral votes of the 538 electors are currently required to win the presidential election.
There are five ways electoral college representatives are chosen: presidential nomination appointment; party nominee by appointment; gubernatorial appointments; state chair appointments; and hybrid methods for the elector selection.
"Colleges" of electors play a role in elections in other countries, albeit with electors allocated in ways differing from the United States. In Germany, the members of the federal parliament together with an equal number of people elected from the state parliaments constitute the Federal Convention
, that exists for the only purpose of electing the (non-executive) head of state.
Similarly, in India the members of the both houses of parliament together with weighted votes from the members of the state legislative assemblies constitute an electoral college
that elects the (non-executive) head of state.
In Italy, the (non-executive) head of state
is elected by the members of both houses of Parliament
in joint session, together with delegates elected by the Regional Councils
to ensure the representation of minorities.
Former electoral colleges
Historical examples of electoral colleges include Finland
's, which elected the country's president
, exceptions are 1944 (exception law), 1946
) and 1973 (extended term by exception law). The electoral college was replaced by direct elections (consisting of two-round voting
) since 1994
had an electoral college established by its original 1853 Constitution
, which was used to elect its president.
The constitution was amended in 1949
and the electoral college was replaced with direct elections by popular vote used in the elections of 1951
. After the Revolución Libertadora
the 1957 reform repealed the 1949 Constitution and the electoral college was used again in the elections of 1958
. The elections of March 1973
and September 1973
used direct elections by popular vote and a not used two-round system
according to the Temporary Fundamental Statute
enacted by the military junta
in 1972. The elections of 1983
used again the electoral college. The constitution was amended in 1994 and the electoral college was replaced with direct elections by popular vote, using a two-round system since 1995
had an electoral college that was established by the 1870 Constitution
, which was used to elect its president. The constitution was replaced in 1940 and the electoral college was replaced with direct elections by popular vote since 1943
had an electoral college established by the 1828 Constitution
, which was used to elect its president in the elections from 1829
. The constitution was amended in 1925
and the electoral college was replaced with direct elections by popular vote since 1925
, during the Second Republic
period (1931–1936/39) the President
was elected by an electoral college comprising the Parliament members and an equal number of democratically elected members ("compromisarios").
Early in United States history, state legislatures were essentially electoral colleges for both the U.S. Senate and even the federal Electoral College itself. Prior to 1913
, U.S. state legislatures appointed U.S. senators from their respective states, and prior to 1872, U.S. presidential electors were in many cases chosen by state legislatures (though most states had switched to popular elections for electors by 1824). Because state legislatures had so much influence over federal elections, state legislative elections were frequently proxy votes for either the Senate or the presidency. The famed 1858 Lincoln–Douglas debates
, reputedly held during a U.S. Senate campaign in Illinois
, actually occurred during an election for the Illinois state legislature; neither Lincoln's nor Douglas' names appeared on any ballot. During the American Civil War
, the Confederacy
used an Electoral College
that was functionally identical to that of the United States; it convened just once, in 1861
, to elect Jefferson Davis
- ^ Collin, Richard Oliver; Martin, Pamela L. (1 January 2012). An Introduction to World Politics: Conflict and Consensus on a Small Planet. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442218031.
- ^ "Legal Provisions Relevant to the Electoral College Process". National Archives. 5 September 2019.
- ^ "About the electors". National Archives. 27 August 2019.
- ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". National Archives. 19 September 2019.
- ^ "How Are Electors Chosen?". Electoral Vote Map. 14 December 2018. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
- ^ Liptak, Adam (6 July 2020). "States May Curb 'Faithless Electors,' Supreme Court Rules". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
- ^ "Mode d'élection des Sénateurs - Sénat". www.senat.fr.
- ^ The Federal President and the Federal Convention Archived 4 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine – Retrieved 16 January 2015
- ^ Constitution of India 84th Amendment – Retrieved 16 January 2015
- ^ "The Italian Constitution". The official website of the Presidency of the Italian Republic.
- ^ Constitution of Estonia, section 79 Archived 2 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine – retrieved on 4 April 2008
- ^ Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, section 28 Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine – retrieved on 4 April 2008
- ^ Austin Ramzy (9 July 2014). "Macau Activists Plan Hong Kong-Style Poll on Greater Democracy". The New York Times.
- ^ "Jurats and the States of Election". The Royal Court of Guernsey. – Retrieved 10 April 2019.
- ^ "New Constitution of Georgia comes into play as the presidential inauguration is over". Agenda.ge. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
- ^ The Constitution of Argentina of 1853, 32nd to 63rd Articles – Retrieved 16 January 2015
- ^ Labour Party Rule Book rule 4B.2c – quoted in House of Commons Research Note SN/PC/3938: Labour Party Leadership Elections Archived 27 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 6 February 2008
Last edited on 8 April 2021, at 22:36
Content is available under CC BY-SA 3.0
unless otherwise noted.