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Electoral College Quiz (San Francisco Chronicle) July 4, 2008

Posted by daviddavenport in Newspaper Columns/Essays.
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Like the 4th of July, the Electoral College is distinctively American. Suspicious of pure democracy, the founders designed separation of powers and various checks and balances in the American republic, including the elector system. Today many are puzzled by it, and few seem to understand its value and purpose, much less the details of how it operates. How much do you know about the Electoral College?

1. When and where does the Electoral College meet to do its work?

a. Annually in Washington, D.C.
b. Every 4 years in Washington, D.C.
c. Every 4 years at a rotating site
d. Never

2. Why did the Founders favor the elector system?

a. To protect slavery and avoid civil war
b. To give states a role in the election process
c. To exclude women from the franchise
d. The founders did not favor it, it was added later

3. Where in the Constitution is the Electoral College established?

a. Article II (about executive powers)
b. The 12th amendment (adopted in 1804)
c. Both a and b
d. It is not in the Constitution

4. The popular vote for president of the United States is:

a. One national election, regulated by Congress
b. 51 state elections (including the District of Columbia)
c. 50 state elections regulated by the states themselves
d. 50 state election regulated by Congress

5. How many proposals have been made to reform or eliminate the Electoral College?

a. 7
b. 70
c. 700
d. 7000

6. Electors in each state are assigned to a candidate based upon:

a. Winner takes all
b. Proportion of the popular vote the candidate wins
c. Whatever formula the state decides
d. None of the above

7. How frequently has a presidential candidate won the most popular votes but was not elected because of the Electoral College?

a. Never
b. Once
c. Twice
d. 3 times

Answers: 1) d 2) b 3) d 4) b 5) c 6) c 7) d