38

result(s)

Word(s)
Publication type
Policy area
Author
Date

The role of the Electoral College in US presidential elections

04-11-2020

The President and Vice-President of the United States of America are not elected directly by US voters, but rather by the Electoral College, a representative body composed of 538 electors chosen by voters in parallel contests in each of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. This body emerged during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 as a compromise designed to ensure the continuing pre-eminence of the states in the US federal system, as well as to temper what were seen then as potentially ...

The President and Vice-President of the United States of America are not elected directly by US voters, but rather by the Electoral College, a representative body composed of 538 electors chosen by voters in parallel contests in each of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia. This body emerged during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 as a compromise designed to ensure the continuing pre-eminence of the states in the US federal system, as well as to temper what were seen then as potentially dangerous democratic passions. At first, state legislatures chose the electors, and it was only in the 19th century that state authorities began to appoint electors on the basis of the result of a popular vote. The operation of the Electoral College and the process by which it chooses a presidential 'ticket' has attracted growing attention in recent decades, on account of an increasingly polarised US political landscape and a changing electoral map. The existence of the Electoral College poses a number of basic questions about the fairness of the electoral process and popular representation in the United States. Moreover, there are many questions about how precisely the Electoral College process should be carried out, in order for it to be considered legitimate, especially as regards the behaviour of electors and their political parties during the election period. Two elections in the past two decades – those of 2000 and 2016 – have resulted in the victory of a candidate who received fewer votes nationwide than their opponent. Calls for the abolition of the institution and the introduction of direct election of the President by all citizens have become more frequent. Polls show a consistent majority in favour of this change, although this majority has narrowed and opinion has become more polarised along partisan lines as evidence has emerged of a structural advantage in the Electoral College for the Republican Party candidate. Nevertheless, this institution has endured for over two centuries of republican government, and a number of arguments are put forward in its defence. US public opinion is also more divided on the detail of proposed alternatives.

External author

European Parliament Liaison Office in Washington DC

Understanding US Presidential elections

16-10-2020

In August 2020, the two major political parties in the United States (US), the Democrats and the Republicans, formally nominated their respective candidates for the 59th US presidential election, which takes place on Tuesday, 3 November 2020. An initially crowded field of contenders in the Democratic primaries developed into a two-horse race between former US Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, with Biden declared the Democratic nominee on 18 August. He will now contest the presidential ...

In August 2020, the two major political parties in the United States (US), the Democrats and the Republicans, formally nominated their respective candidates for the 59th US presidential election, which takes place on Tuesday, 3 November 2020. An initially crowded field of contenders in the Democratic primaries developed into a two-horse race between former US Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, with Biden declared the Democratic nominee on 18 August. He will now contest the presidential election against the Republican candidate, who faced no significant primary challenge, the incumbent US President, Donald Trump. The US President is simultaneously head of state, head of government and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Presidential elections are therefore a hugely important part of American political life. Although millions of Americans vote in presidential elections every four years, the President is not, in fact, directly elected by the people. Citizens elect the members of the Electoral College, who then cast their votes for the President and Vice-President. While key elements of the presidential election are spelled out in the US Constitution, other aspects have been shaped by state laws, national party rules and state party rules. This explains why presidential campaigns have evolved over time, from the days when presidential candidates were nominated in the House of Representatives by the 'king caucus', to an almost exclusively party-dominated ‘convention’ system, and finally to the modern system of nominations based very largely on primary elections, introduced progressively to increase the participation of party supporters in the selection process. A number of additional developments have also played an important role in shaping today's presidential elections, notably political party efforts to limit 'front-loading' of primaries; the organisation of the Electoral College system and the changes to the campaign financing system. A previous version of this Briefing, written by Carmen-Cristina Cîrlig and Micaela Del Monte, was published in 2016.

European Parliament: Facts and Figures

29-03-2019

This Briefing, published by the European Parliamentary Research Service, is designed to provide key facts and figures about the European Parliament, both in the 2014 to 2019 parliamentary term now drawing to a close - and in the seven previous terms since direct elections were introduced in June 1979. On the following pages you will find graphics of various kinds which: • detail the composition of the European Parliament now and in the past; • trace the increase in the number of parties represented ...

This Briefing, published by the European Parliamentary Research Service, is designed to provide key facts and figures about the European Parliament, both in the 2014 to 2019 parliamentary term now drawing to a close - and in the seven previous terms since direct elections were introduced in June 1979. On the following pages you will find graphics of various kinds which: • detail the composition of the European Parliament now and in the past; • trace the increase in the number of parties represented in the EP and evolution of political groups; • chart the rise in the number of women sitting in the Parliament; • explain the electoral systems used in elections to the Parliament across the Member States; • show how turnout in European elections compares with that in national elections; • summarise the activity of the Parliament in the 2014-19 term, and in the 2009-14 term; • present the annual cost of the Parliament compared with other parliaments; • outline the composition of the Parliament’s main governing bodies. The Briefing has been updated regularly during the 2014-19 term to take account of latest developments.

The European Parliament: electoral procedures

01-10-2017

The procedures for electing the European Parliament are governed both by European legislation defining rules common to all Member States and by specific national provisions which vary from one state to another. The common rules lay down the principle of proportional representation and certain incompatibilities with a mandate as a Member of the European Parliament. Many other important matters, such as the exact electoral system used and the number of constituencies, are governed by national laws. ...

The procedures for electing the European Parliament are governed both by European legislation defining rules common to all Member States and by specific national provisions which vary from one state to another. The common rules lay down the principle of proportional representation and certain incompatibilities with a mandate as a Member of the European Parliament. Many other important matters, such as the exact electoral system used and the number of constituencies, are governed by national laws.

Morocco's new political landscape

11-04-2017

On 7 October 2016, Morocco went to the polls for national parliamentary elections. This was the second time that Morocco had held national elections since being touched by the Arab Spring in February 2011. Since the 2011 public protests, a number of constitutional reforms, introduced by King Mohammed VI, have made significant changes to electoral and administrative law. Morocco's Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD) re-emerged as the winner, with the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) ...

On 7 October 2016, Morocco went to the polls for national parliamentary elections. This was the second time that Morocco had held national elections since being touched by the Arab Spring in February 2011. Since the 2011 public protests, a number of constitutional reforms, introduced by King Mohammed VI, have made significant changes to electoral and administrative law. Morocco's Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD) re-emerged as the winner, with the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) in second position. Since 25 March 2017, Morocco has a new coalition government.

Nicaragua's post-electoral situation

06-12-2016

The landslide victory of Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua's 6 November presidential and legislative elections came as no surprise, after the main opposition alliance – whose presidential team had been disqualified by the Supreme Court of Justice – withdrew from the contest. Both the opposition and the international community are worried that the country could drift towards an authoritarian regime.

The landslide victory of Daniel Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua's 6 November presidential and legislative elections came as no surprise, after the main opposition alliance – whose presidential team had been disqualified by the Supreme Court of Justice – withdrew from the contest. Both the opposition and the international community are worried that the country could drift towards an authoritarian regime.

Montenegro ahead of the 2016 elections

13-10-2016

On 11 July 2016, Montenegro's President Filip Vujanović announced that the next parliamentary elections would be held on 16 October. They would be the tenth such elections since the introduction of the multiparty system in Montenegro and the fourth since the country regained independence in 2006. Unlike the 2012 elections, those of 2016 will be held in a polarised political context following a series of events that have shaken up the political dynamics since late 2015. For the first time in almost ...

On 11 July 2016, Montenegro's President Filip Vujanović announced that the next parliamentary elections would be held on 16 October. They would be the tenth such elections since the introduction of the multiparty system in Montenegro and the fourth since the country regained independence in 2006. Unlike the 2012 elections, those of 2016 will be held in a polarised political context following a series of events that have shaken up the political dynamics since late 2015. For the first time in almost two decades, the ruling party has decided to run alone in the elections.

Russia's 2016 elections: More of the same?

20-06-2016

On 18 September, 2016 Russians will elect representatives at federal, regional and municipal level, including most importantly to the State Duma (lower house of parliament). President Vladimir Putin remains popular, with over 80% of Russians approving of his presidency. However, the country is undergoing a prolonged economic recession and a growing number of Russians feel it is going in the wrong direction. Support for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and ruling party United Russia has declined in ...

On 18 September, 2016 Russians will elect representatives at federal, regional and municipal level, including most importantly to the State Duma (lower house of parliament). President Vladimir Putin remains popular, with over 80% of Russians approving of his presidency. However, the country is undergoing a prolonged economic recession and a growing number of Russians feel it is going in the wrong direction. Support for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and ruling party United Russia has declined in recent months. Nevertheless, United Russia is likely to hold onto, and even increase its parliamentary majority, given the lack of credible alternatives. Of the tame opposition parties currently represented in the State Duma, polls suggest the far-right Liberal Democrats will do well, overtaking the Communists to become the largest opposition party. Outside the State Duma, opposition to Putin's regime is led by liberal opposition parties Yabloko and PARNAS. Deeply unpopular and disunited, these parties have little chance of breaking through the 5% electoral threshold. To avoid a repeat of the 2011–2012 post-election protests, authorities may try to prevent the blatant vote-rigging which triggered them. Nevertheless, favourable media coverage, United Russia's deep pockets and changes to electoral legislation (for example, the re-introduction of single-member districts) will give the ruling party a strong head-start. Please click here for the full publication in PDF format

2016 elections in Peru

05-04-2016

Peru will hold a general election on 10 April 2016, and all polls have Keiko Fujimori, candidate for the Popular Force party, as clear favourite for the presidential contest. The EU has sent an Election Observation Mission led by Renate Weber, MEP. The electoral process has been marked by the recent exclusion by the National Electoral Board (JNE) of two of the best-placed presidential candidates: Julio Guzmán – who was running second in the polls – and César Acuña.

Peru will hold a general election on 10 April 2016, and all polls have Keiko Fujimori, candidate for the Popular Force party, as clear favourite for the presidential contest. The EU has sent an Election Observation Mission led by Renate Weber, MEP. The electoral process has been marked by the recent exclusion by the National Electoral Board (JNE) of two of the best-placed presidential candidates: Julio Guzmán – who was running second in the polls – and César Acuña.

Albania: Political parties and the EU

16-02-2016

Since the start of Albania's transition towards democracy, its political parties have considered European integration as the country's sole viable political option. Achieving this shared objective has been tied to successful domestic reforms. However, persistent political deadlock, mistrust between government and opposition, and a series of contested elections have slowed progress.

Since the start of Albania's transition towards democracy, its political parties have considered European integration as the country's sole viable political option. Achieving this shared objective has been tied to successful domestic reforms. However, persistent political deadlock, mistrust between government and opposition, and a series of contested elections have slowed progress.

Upcoming events

22-06-2021
AFCO ICM on the Reform of European Electoral Law & Parliament's Right of Inquiry
Other event -
AFCO
22-06-2021
The development of new tax practices:what new schemes should the EU pay attention to?
Hearing -
FISC
22-06-2021
Perspectives of animal production in the EU
Hearing -
AGRI

Partners