On Tuesday Americans over the age of 18 had the opportunity to vote for who they would like to see as their next president. They had the choice between a variety of candidates but the real competition was between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Hilary Clinton. This election has dominated the media over the past two years and many people are devastated by the result and I feel that this is due to the mathematics that was used.
This election had a terrible turnout. 230 million people in the US are entitled to vote but only 131 million actually did (Levine, 2016). This saddens me as so many people fought for the right to vote in the past and now people are not appreciating it.
The voting system used in America is called the Electoral College and is a system that could be made a lot simpler due to the confusion it causes for people like me who have never used this way of voting before. The system uses a lot of numbers and mathematics and shows which candidate will be in charge of the country for four or more years.
The Electoral College entitles each state to a certain number of votes dependent on its size. For example, California is entitled to 55 votes while North Dakota only has three. This is due to its population. California has a population of 38.8 million people and North Dakota has 739,482.
The Electoral College has 538 electors who choose the president and Americans go to polling stations and choose who they want their electoral points for their state to go to. The winner needs to receive at least 270 of these electoral votes to win the majority. The candidate who receives a majority of electoral votes (270) becomes president. The number 538 represents the country’s 435 Representatives, 100 Senators, and 3 electors given to the District of Columbia (The Huffington Post, 2012). Trump received 306 of the votes, so won by clear majority.
However, Trump did not actually receive the most votes from the American public, Clinton did. This is called the popular vote. 60.3 million voted for Clinton while only 59.9 million (Telegraph, 2016) and this is why I believe maths ruined the election. The population of America chose Clinton. They didn’t choose Trump. But, due to their system with the number of Electoral Votes and the numbers for each state Trump won.
Therefore, this clearly highlights the importance of maths in every day life. It influences how a country will be run and could even possibly change the world over the next four years.
- The Huffington Post (2016) What is the Electoral College and why it matters. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/06/what-is-the-electoral-college_n_2078970.html (Accessed 11/11/16)
- Levine, D. (2016) Over 90 Million Eligible Voters Didn’t Vote in the 2016 Presidential Election. Available at: http://heavy.com/news/2016/11/eligible-voter-turnout-for-2016-data-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-republican-democrat-popular-vote-registered-results/ (Accessed: 11/11/16)
- The Telegraph (2016) US election results: The maps and analysis that explain Donald Trump’s shock victory to become President. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/0/us-election-results-and-state-by-state-maps/ (Accessed: 11/11/16)