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  • Most people have heard of the Electoral College during presidential election years.

    在美國大選年,很多人聽過 「選舉人團」。

  • But what exactly is the Electoral College?


  • Simply said, it is a group of people appointed by each state who formally elect the President and Vice President of the United States.


  • To understand how this process began and how it continues today, we can look at the Constitution of the United States: article two, section one, clause two of the constitution.


  • It specifies how many electors each state is entitled to have.


  • Since 1964, there have been 538 electors in each presidential election.

    1964 年起,每屆總統大選都有 538 位選舉人。

  • How did they decide on the number 538?

    538 這個數字是怎麼決定的呢?

  • Well, the number of electors is equal to the total voting membership of the United States Congress.


  • 435 representatives, plus 100 senators, and 3 electors from the District of Columbia.

    435 位眾議員,加 100 位參議員,還有 3 位哥倫比亞特區的選舉人。

  • Essentially, the Democratic candidate and Republican candidate are each trying to add up the electors in every state so that they surpass 270 electoral votes, or just over half the 538 votes, and win the presidency.

    基本上,不論民主或共和黨候選人,都想讓各州的得票數加起來超過 270 票,即是 538 票的過半選票,就可贏得大選

  • So how do states even get electoral votes?


  • Each state receives a particular number of electors based on population size.


  • The census is conducted every 10 years, so every time the census happens, states might gain or lose a few electoral votes.


  • Let's say you're a voter in California, a state with 55 electoral votes.

    比如說你是加州的選民,加州有 55 張選舉人票。

  • If your candidate wins in California, they get all 55 of the state's electoral votes.

    如果你的候選人在加州勝選,就會得到全部的 55 張選舉人票。

  • If your candidate loses, they get none.


  • This is why many presidential candidates want to win states like Texas, Florida, and New York.


  • If you currently add up the electoral votes of those three states, you would have 96 electoral votes.

    如果你把這三州選舉人的票數相加,你會得到 96 票。

  • Even if a candidate won North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and West Virginia, they would only gain 31 electoral votes total from those eight states.

    即使候選人贏得北達科他州、南達科他州、蒙大拿州、懷俄明州、佛蒙特州、新罕布夏州、康乃狄克州、西維吉尼亞州的選票,這八州總共也只有 31 張選舉人票。

  • Here is where it can get a little tricky.


  • On a rare occasion, like in the year 2000, someone can win the popular vote but fail to gain 270 electoral votes.

    在極少數情況下,如 2000 年大選,有人獲得較多的選票,卻沒辦法得到 270 張選舉人票。

  • This means that the winner may have won and collected their electoral votes by small margins, winning just enough states with just enough electoral votes, but the losing candidate may have captured large voter margins in the remaining states.


  • If this is the case, the very large margins secured by the losing candidate in the other states would add up to over 50% of the ballots cast nationally.

    若是如此,敗選者在各州得到的大量領先票數可能加起起來會超過全國總投票數的 50%。

  • Therefore, the losing candidate may have gained more than 50% of the ballots cast by voters, but failed to gain 270 of the electoral votes.

    因此,敗選者可能得到一半以上的選民支持,卻沒辦法得到 270 張選舉人票

  • Some critics of the electoral college argue the system gives an unfair advantage to states with large numbers of electoral votes.


  • Think of it this way.


  • It is possible for a candidate to not get a single person's vote -- not one vote --in 39 states, or the District of Columbia, yet be elected president by winning the popular vote in just 11 of these 12 states: California, New York, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia or Virginia.

    候選人可能在 39 州及哥倫比亞特區一票未得,但在下列 12 州裡贏了 11 州,因而當選總統:加州、紐約州、德州、佛羅里達州、 賓州、依利諾州、俄亥俄州、密西根州、紐澤西州、 北卡羅萊納州、喬治亞州或維吉尼亞州。

  • This is why both parties pay attention to these states.


  • However, others argue that the electoral college protects small states such as Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire, and even geographically large states with small populations like Alaska, Wyoming and the Dakotas.

    然而,也有人認為選舉人團制度保護了較小的州,如羅德島州、佛蒙特州、 新罕布夏州,甚至還有一些地廣人稀的州,如阿拉斯加州、懷俄明州、 南、北達科他州。

  • That's because a candidate can't completely ignore small states, because in a close election, every electoral vote counts.


  • There are certain states that have a long history of voting for a particular party.


  • These are known as "Safe States."


  • For the past four election cycles -- in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 --

    過去四次選舉中,也就是 1996、2000、2004、2008 年。

  • Democrats could count on states like Oregon, Maryland, Michigan and Massachusetts, whereas the Republicans could count on states like Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas and Idaho.


  • States that are teetering between parties are called "Swing States."

    搖擺於不同政黨之間的州叫作 「搖擺州」。

  • In the past four election cycles, Ohio and Florida have been Swing States, twice providing electoral votes for a Democratic candidate, and twice providing electoral votes for a Republican candidate.


  • Think about it. Do you live in a Safe State?


  • If so, is it a Democratic or Republican Safe State?


  • Do you live in a Swing State?


  • Are your neighboring states swing or safe?


  • Is the population in your state increasing or decreasing?


  • And do not forget, when you are watching the electoral returns on election night every four years and the big map of the United States is on the screen, know that the magic number is 270 and start adding.

    別忘了,當你看著四年一次的大選開票轉播,美國大地圖顯示在螢幕上時,記得關鍵數字就是 270,然後開始加加看吧!

Most people have heard of the Electoral College during presidential election years.

在美國大選年,很多人聽過 「選舉人團」。

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