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Hillary maintains her grip over US Electoral College

Updated November 06, 2016
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds an umbrella while leaving a campaign field office in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.—AFP (Right) Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Friday.—Reuters
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds an umbrella while leaving a campaign field office in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.—AFP (Right) Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Friday.—Reuters

Democrat Hillary Clinton holds a clear advantage in Electoral College but can she hold this advantage for the next two days? If she does, she will make history as the first woman president of the United States of America.

If her Republican rival Donald Trump breaks this hold, he too will make history as an outsider by demolishing her as well as his own party, which is as scared of his victory as the rest of the world is.

Almost 219 million Americans are eligible to vote this year but only 149.3 million have registered as voters. In 2012, more than 126 million or 57.5 per cent of all voters — registered or unregistered — cast their ballots.

This year, the voter turnout could be a little higher as surveys by various polling agencies predict that almost 145 million Americans are likely to vote on Tuesday, which will be 66.2pc of total votes.

But these 145 million voters alone will not decide who will be the next US president, 270 members of the Electoral College will. This is because the US president and vice president are not elected by popular vote. Voters choose electors, who elect the president and his number two.

There are a total of 538 electors who are distributed among 50 federating states according to the number of seats each state has in the US Congress. Congress has two chambers, the House and the Senate. The House has a total of 435 members while the Senate has 100, which adds up to 535 electors but three electors are also given to Washington, DC, which does not have representation in Congress.

The electors usually vote according to the pledge they make during the election, thus those who are pledged to Mrs Clinton will vote for her and those to Mr Trump will vote for him. But the relevant federal law does not require an elector to honour his or her pledge. The 12th amendment to the US Constitution only requires an elector to cast one vote for president and one for vice president.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds an umbrella while leaving a campaign field office in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.—AFP (Right) Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Friday.—Reuters
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton holds an umbrella while leaving a campaign field office in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.—AFP (Right) Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends a campaign event in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on Friday.—Reuters

Since the constitution allows early votes, so far 37 million Americans have already cast their ballots, which is about one-fourth of all expected votes.

Although the advantage Mrs Clinton had in popular votes – which at one stage was in double digits – has diminished, she still maintains an apparent edge over Mr Trump in the Electoral College.

The latest CNN report describes the following states as solid Democratic, and California leads this group with 55 electors, followed by New York 29, Illinois 20 and New Jersey 14. Others are Washington State 12, Massachusetts 11, Maryland 10, Minnesota 10, Connecticut 7, Oregon 7, New Mexico 5, Hawaii 4, Rhode Island 4, Delaware 3, Washington, DC 3, Maine 3, and Vermont 3. This adds up to a total of 200 electors.

Among solid Republican states, Texas leads with 38 electors, followed by 18 from Ohio, which, until recently, was considered a swing states. Others are Indiana 11, Tennessee 11, Missouri 10, Alabama 9, South Carolina 9, Kentucky 8, Louisiana 8, Oklahoma 7, Arkansas 6, Kansas 6, Mississippi 6, West Virginia 5, Idaho 4, Nebraska 4, Montana 3, Alaska 3, North Dakota 3, South Dakota 3, and Wyoming 3. This adds up to 157 electors.

Georgia with 16 electors, Iowa 6, Maine 2nd Congressional District 1 and Utah 6 are considered Republican leaning states with a total of 47 total electors.

Colorado with 9 electors, Michigan 16, Pennsylvania 20, Virginia 13 and Wisconsin 10 are Democratic leaning states with a total of 68 votes.

Arizona with 11, Florida 29, Nevada 6, Nebraska 2nd Congressional District 1, New Hampshire 4, North Carolina 15, are considered battleground states with a total of 66 electors.

Several US news outlets have placed Ohio, Utah, and Maine’s 2nd congressional district among Republican leaning states. And New Hampshire is shown as moving from lean Democratic to a pure battleground/toss-up state.

CNN gave Mrs Clinton 268 electoral votes and Mr Trump has 204. It speculates that six battleground states – Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and the second congressional district in and around Omaha, Nebraska with 66 electoral votes – will play a decisive role in this week’s election.

Other news outlets also show Mrs Clinton maintaining stronger electoral position than Mr Trump. She needs to win one of the remaining toss-up states to secure the presidency but Mr Trump needs to win all of them.

Published in Dawn November 6th, 2016