Good morning family! This article was in my email this morning. Examining the electoral college October 27, 2004 BY EMILY FREDRIX ASSOCIATED PRESS When Americans vote Tuesday for president, they are really voting for the 538 people who make up the Electoral College. Here are some answers to questions about the Electoral College: QUESTION: How does it work? ANSWER: Each state has one elector for each of its members in Congress -- one for each House representative (determined by a state's population) and one for each senator (each state has two). A candidate needs a majority of the electoral votes -- 270 -- to win the presidency. Most states award their electoral votes to the candidate who has won the popular vote in the state. The electors then cast two ballots each, one for president and one for vice president. Those votes are sent to Congress, where they are certified. Q: So on Tuesday, whom are voters voting for? A: The people who will elect the candidates. On Election Day, states hold direct, statewide elections to choose their electors under a winner-takes-all system. The exceptions are Maine and Nebraska, which dole out their votes proportionally, selecting two electors by a statewide vote and the rest according to the winner in each congressional district. Colorado residents vote Tuesday on a referendum to divide the state's nine electoral votes proportionally among presidential candidates. If it passes, it would go into effect immediately, potentially complicating the election if the results are close. Q: Do electors have to vote for the candidate who wins the popular vote in their state? A: The Constitution does not require electors to vote a specific way, but Michigan, 28 other states and the District of Columbia ask their electors to vote according to their party's slate. Out of 21,000 electors in the nation's history, only 10 have switched their votes from their party and their state's popular vote. This has never had any effect on the outcome of an election. And if an elector tried that in Michigan, the state passed a law in 1970 that said such a "faithless elector" must be replaced. Q: When is the president technically elected? A: Each state's electors will get together in their own state -- usually the state capital -- on Dec. 13. The entire Electoral College never convenes as one body. Each state collects votes and sends them to Congress, which will count and certify the votes Jan. 6. Two weeks later, on Jan. 20, the president is inaugurated. Q: What if there's an Electoral College tie -- 269-269? A: The House will decide who becomes president, and the Senate decides the vice president. Q: How many times has a president won the electoral vote without winning the popular vote? A: Four: 2000, 1888, 1876 and 1824. Q: Why do we still use the Electoral College? A: The Electoral College could only be replaced through an amendment to the Constitution. But that takes a lot of work and compromise. The bill would have to be approved by both chambers of Congress and then sent to all state legislatures for action. Thirty-eight states would have to approve the change for the amendment to take effect. That's not to say lawmakers haven't tried. In the past 200 years, Congress has seen more than 700 proposals to change the system -- making such an amendment more sought after than any other.