A Guide to Election Night for the Non-Political Junkie

Written by Terry Mitchell

Even if you are not a political junkie like I am, you will still probably find yourself glued to your TV set on election night. Obviously, you'll be waiting to find out whether President George W. Bush will be elected or if Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts will become our 44th President. Will everything you see and hear that night be interesting? Will it even make sense to you? Well, if all you are interested in is finding out who wins, you may be in for a long and boring night. Volumes of information will be presented that night before a final winner is declared. However, if you know a few things to look for, all of that stuff might make a lot more sense and actually be interesting as well.

For one thing, you need to be aware that there's only going to be a passive emphasis onrepparttar national popular vote, i.e.,repparttar 125942 total amount of votes cast nationally for each candidate. That's because it doesn't determine who wins -repparttar 125943 electoral votes do. In every state except Maine, Nebraska, and perhaps Colorado (more on that later),repparttar 125944 winner of that state receives all of its electoral votes. Maine awards them by congressional district, withrepparttar 125945 other two going to that state's overall winner. Nebraska awards its electoral votes proportionally, based onrepparttar 125946 percentage ofrepparttar 125947 popular vote each candidate receives in that state.

The number of electoral votes each state has is calculated by addingrepparttar 125948 number of its congressional districts torepparttar 125949 number of its senators. The number of congressional districts each state has is based on its population. The more populous states like California and Texas have a lot more congressional districts than more sparsely populated states like Wyoming or Vermont. However, every state has at least one congressional district, no matter how small its population. Every state has exactly two senators. Therefore, every state has at least three electoral votes. In addition to allrepparttar 125950 states,repparttar 125951 District of Columbia is allotted three electoral votes, even though it has no voting members in Congress.

Many people believerepparttar 125952 electoral college,repparttar 125953 system of casting electoral votes to determinerepparttar 125954 outcome ofrepparttar 125955 presidential election, is inherently unfair and should be abolished in favor of a system in whichrepparttar 125956 winner is determined purely byrepparttar 125957 national popular vote. Of course, it would take a Constitutional amendment for that to happen. Therefore,repparttar 125958 electoral college is here to stay. Even if such amendment could getrepparttar 125959 required two-thirds margin inrepparttar 125960 House and Senate, it would never be able to getrepparttar 125961 required three-quarters ofrepparttar 125962 state legislatures. There are too many small states that would be staunchly opposed to it, as they feel thatrepparttar 125963 electoral college allows them to be "players" inrepparttar 125964 presidential election campaign that they would not be in a purely popular vote system. These small states fear that they would be completely ignored by presidential candidates, withoutrepparttar 125965 electoral college. I fear that they are right.

Many states will be "called", i.e., a projected winner of that state will be announced, by news organizations as soon asrepparttar 125966 polls close in those states. This can be done fairly accurately withrepparttar 125967 use of exit polls, a process by which voters are asked about their decision as they are exiting their polling places. Ifrepparttar 125968 exit polling sample alone from a given state shows a clear victory for one candidate, they will call that state as soon as its polls close. Ifrepparttar 125969 exit polls show that a given state is too close to call, they will wait until enough ofrepparttar 125970 actual vote count comes in before calling that state. Exit polls are sometimes wrong, though. The most infamous example was Florida in 2000, when it was called for Gore based on exit polling data and some ofrepparttar 125971 actual results. After more ofrepparttar 125972 actual results started coming in, however,repparttar 125973 news organizations soon started to realize things might not go in Floridarepparttar 125974 way they had projected, so they soon retracted their call andrepparttar 125975 state ultimately went to Bush.

Byrepparttar 125976 way, people who say they never believe exit polls (or political polls in general) will offer two main criticisms of them. The first is: "They've never asked me." In actuality, very few voters are ever contacted by pollsters. Only a very small sample of voters is needed to get a reasonably accurate result, provided it is random enough and varied enough among all demographic groups, geographic areas, etc. To use an analogy that I've often heard, you don't need to drinkrepparttar 125977 whole glass of tea to find out whether or not it's sweet. Just a taste will due, assumingrepparttar 125978 glass has been stirred properly. The other criticism is: "They ask intentionally misleading and confusing questions." This is quite true of many political polls. However,repparttar 125979 main question asked during exit poling is: "For whom did you vote?". I wonder which part of that question people wouldn't understand.

A Clear Direction After Election Day

Written by Angela Winters

Like everyone else, I was confused byrepparttar vast contradictions ofrepparttar 125941 exit polls andrepparttar 125942 actual results of this election. If I wererepparttar 125943 news stations, I would want my money back. For allrepparttar 125944 excitement, waiting and tension, somehow I fell asleep at 10:30. When I woke up at midnight, I was like "Oh hell, here we go." Then, this morning I felt a little better about it. I don't think this will drag out for another couple of months.

My sympathies to those who worked so hard for Kerry. They really did, but I thinkrepparttar 125945 reality is thatrepparttar 125946 country is going in a clear direction. I was surprised, but it's pretty much in plain view. America is moving torepparttar 125947 right. The White House, The Senate, The House and pretty soon, The Supreme Court is steering us inrepparttar 125948 direction of conservative values. Well, all that except for fiscal conservatism which in my opinion isrepparttar 125949 best aspect of conservativism. Bush's spending is a mess and I'm not talking aboutrepparttar 125950 war.

Ifrepparttar 125951 Democrats are going

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