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The Electoral College And The 2000 Presidential Election

The American Presidential election is actually 51 separate election contests in the 50 States and the District of Columbia (Washington DC). The winner is not decided by a national tally of votes, but is chosen by an Electoral College composed of State representatives.

Each State is allocated a number of electors equal to the combined total of its representation in the House of Representatives and Senate. For example, California has 52 members in the House, plus 2 Senators, so receives 54 Electoral College votes.

To win the presidential election, a candidate needs to win 270 of the 538 votes in the Electoral College. A candidate is allocated all of the votes for a particular State if they achieve the highest proportion of the vote in that State. Thus, the first-past-the-post voting system produces a winner-take-all result in each State.

Vice-President Al Gore – Democratic Party


This map shows the 16 States plus DC regarded as pro or leaning to GORE. They total 208 Electoral College votes:

California – 54
Connecticut – 8
Delaware – 3
Hawaii – 4
Illinois – 22
Iowa – 7
Maine – 4
Maryland – 10
Massachusetts – 12
Minnesota – 10
New Jersey – 15
New York – 33
Rhode Island – 4
Tennessee – 11
Vermont – 3
West Virginia – 5

Governor George W. Bush – Republican Party


There are 20 States regarded as pro or leaning to BUSH. They total 167 Electoral College votes:

Alabama – 9
Alaska – 3
Colorado – 8
Georgia – 13
Idaho – 4
Indiana – 12
Kansas – 6
Kentucky – 8
Mississippi – 7
Montana – 3
Nebraska – 5
North Carolina – 14
North Dakota – 3
Oklahoma – 8
South Carolina – 8
South Dakota – 3
Texas – 32
Utah – 5
Virginia – 13
Wyoming – 3

States Too Close To Call


There are 14 States regarded as toss-ups. They total 163 Electoral College votes:

Arizona – 8
Arkansas – 6
Florida – 25
Louisiana – 9
Michigan – 18
Missouri – 11
Nevada – 4
New Hampshire – 4
New Mexico – 5
Ohio – 21
Oregon – 7
Pennsylvania – 23
Washington – 11
Wisconsin – 11

It is generally believed by commentators that Bush cannot win the election without winning Florida. Bush will win Texas with its 32 votes, but the next biggest State he has a chance in is Ohio with 21 votes. Not to win Florida could spell the end to Bush’s hopes of becoming president. On the other hand, Gore has probably locked up California (54) and New York (33), and is likely to win Pennsylvania (23) and Illinois (22). Winning Florida could give Gore a very comfortable win, whereas without Florida it is hard to see where Bush can find enough States with enough votes to put him over the top.

In a very tight contest, the second-tier of populated States such as Michigan, Washington, Wisconsin and Missouri become significant. The Gore campaign will pour huge resources into Florida in the remaining weeks of the campaign with the dual aims of minimising Bush’s prospects there, as well as making it difficult for him to focus on the smaller outlying States.

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