Who elects the US president?
When Americans cast their ballots for the US president, they are actually voting for a representative of that candidate’s party known as an elector. There are 538 electors who then vote for the president on behalf of the people in their state.
Each state is assigned a certain number of these electoral votes, based on the number of congressional districts they have, plus two additional votes representing the state’s Senate seats. Washington DC is also assigned three electoral votes, despite having no voting representation in Congress. A majority of 270 of these votes is needed to win the presidency.
The process of nominating electors varies by state and by party, but is generally done one of two ways. Ahead of the election, political parties either choose electors at their national conventions, or they are voted for by the party’s central committee.
The electoral college nearly always operates with a winner-takes-all system, in which the candidate with the highest number of votes in a state claims all of that state’s electoral votes. For example, in 2016, Trump beat Clinton in Florida by a margin of just 2.2%, but that meant he claimed all 29 of Florida’s crucial electoral votes.
Such small margins in a handful of key swing states meant that, regardless of Clinton’s national vote lead, Trump was able to clinch victory in several swing states and therefore win more electoral college votes.
Biden could face the same hurdle in November, meaning he will need to focus his attention on a handful of battleground states to win the presidency.
Under the winner-takes-all system, the margin of victory in a state becomes irrelevant. In 2016, Clinton’s substantial margins in states such as California and New York failed to earn her enough electoral votes, while close races in the battleground states of Pennsylvania and Michigan took Trump over the 270 majority.
WESTMORELAND COUNTY, Pa. — Voting woes continue in Westmoreland County, with the clock ticking. Leaders are now scrambling to figure out a solution as thousands of residents still don’t have their mail-in ballots that they applied for.
A company based out of Ohio, Midwest Direct, has been tasked with getting them sent, but now Channel 11 learned that county officials at the courthouse may take matters into their own hands.
Earlier in October, officials accused Midwest Direct of sending out tens of thousands of ballots later than planned. There are still questions over how many have actually gone out.
In the past, Midwest Direct has blamed the delay on mechanical issues.That confusion is forcing leaders to make some tough decisions. They are considering having county elections staff at the courthouse print and mail out ballots themselves and avoid the third-party company altogether.
Starting Wednesday, Oct. 21, a drop box will be stationed from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week inside the lobby of the Westmoreland County Courthouse on Main Street in Greensburg. It will remain open through Election Day.
Drop boxes at Westmoreland County Community College on Fifth Avenue in New Kensington, Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Unity and the county’s Adult Probation office on Riverview Drive in Monessen will open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24.
On Sunday, Oct. 25, drop boxes will be available in the Student Achievement Center building at Westmoreland County Community College near Youngwood, and the community college building on Mellon Road in Murrysville from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Collections will resume Saturday, Oct. 31, at the community college sites in Murrysville and Youngwood from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Sunday, Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the drop boxes will be available at the WCCC building in New Kensington, the airport and the Monessen probation office.
“We tried to pick the four corners of the county (for drop box sites), but it was difficult,” said Commissioner Sean Kertes.
Drop boxes will be anchored to the ground, monitored by two county employees and video surveillance. Voters are only allowed to leave their own ballots. County staff will be on duty to enforce that.
“We wanted the drop boxes on the weekends for people who can’t make it to the courthouse. We thought weekends were best,” said Commissioner Gina Cerilli
During an ABC town hall Thursday night, Biden said about $1.3 trillion of Trump’s $2 trillion tax cuts went to the top one percent of earners and he only wants to repeal the tax breaks for the wealthiest of Americans.
“That’s what I’m talking about eliminating, not all the tax cuts that are out there,” Biden said.
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos asked Biden if it was “wise” to raise taxes when the economy is weak right now amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Absolutely,” Biden said and then went on to cite a Moody’s analysis of his tax plan saying it creates jobs and boosts the GDP.
National media outlets are eyeing Westmoreland County as a key battleground in the looming presidential election.
Both CNN and the New York Times this week spotlighted the county in reports, talking to residents and politicians about their efforts to swing the race in favor of either President Donald Trump or his Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
CNN — which called Westmoreland “pivotal” for Trump — spoke with Leslie Rossi, owner of the famous red, white and blue Trump House in Unity, which features a large cutout of the president outside.
“Four years ago, my work was really hard here,” Rossi told CNN. “I had to convince them President Trump was the best choice for them. This time, I don’t have to do any of that. They’re all in.”
Went to Westmoreland County PA where @realDonaldTrump big margins helped him win the Keystone state and the WH. Now his campaign is trying to turn out even more of his base to win again. Watch/read here. Story w @bridgetmnolan https://t.co/qmMc0euZ5s
— Dana Bash (@DanaBashCNN) October 14, 2020
HARRISBURG, PA — A federal judge in Pennsylvania on Saturday threw out a lawsuit filed by President Donald Trump’s campaign, dismissing its challenges to the battleground state’s poll-watching law and its efforts to limit how mail-in ballots can be collected and which of them can be counted.The ruling by U.S. District Judge J. Nicholas Ranjan — who was appointed by Trump — in Pittsburgh also poured cold water on Trump’s claims that election fraud will work against him.
Trump’s campaign said it would appeal at least one element of the decision, with barely three weeks to go until Election Day in a state hotly contested by Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
The lawsuit was opposed by the administration of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, the state Democratic Party, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP’s Pennsylvania office and other allied groups.
“The court’s decision today affirms what we’ve long known, that Pennsylvania’s elections are safe, secure, and accurate, and residents can vote on Nov. 3rd with confidence that their votes will be counted and their voices heard,” Wolf’s office said in a statement. “The ruling is a complete rejection of the continued misinformation about voter fraud and corruption, and those who seek to sow chaos and discord ahead of the upcoming election.”
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (WJAC) — President Donald Trump’s campaign confirmed Saturday that he will be making a stop in Johnstown this week.
The Trump campaign says the President will host a “Make American Great Again” Rally at the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
The event will be open to the public with doors opening at 4 p.m.
For ticket information, click here.
Organizers wanted to create a response to the signs and flags supporting President Donald Trump that outnumber Biden visuals in the rural community.
“We just did it to be heard,” Kate Pike, a manager of the farm, told USA TODAY. “We wanted to be louder.”
But at 6:42 p.m. Friday night, the Dalton Fire Department arrived at the farm after farmers spotted the 1,000-pound hay bales ablaze.
“Within about 24 hours is when it went up in flames,” Pike said. “So it didn’t take long.”
Dicken Crane, the farm’s owner, posted images of the fire on Facebook.
“It’s actually hard to believe anyone who says they love this country would do this,” he wrote.
The Dalton Police Department said they arrested Lonnie Durfee, 49, and charged him with burning personal property. He will be arraigned Tuesday. Police said the investigation is ongoing.
Pike said she doesn’t know the individual personally but heard that he was boasting about the fire to friends shortly afterward.
This election is inescapable in Pennsylvania. On billboards, posters, on television, spray-painted on the sidewalks and walls, and every time you open up a webpage, the volume of political advertisements are overwhelming. But it isn’t presidential candidates that are taking up the space. Instead, the ads are more often instructions for voters on how to cast their ballot safely and securely in this most unusual of election years. It’s as if democracy itself is on the ballot here. In many ways, it is.
“We think that our total voter registration may be at an all-time high,” Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said during a press conference this week.
About 8,908,777 people have registered to vote, Boockvar said, including 4,175,532 Democrats and 3,459,627 Republicans. About 875,191 had no affiliation or identified as independents, and 398,427 identified as other.
Nearly 2.5 million people are expected to vote by mail, according to Boockvar, who noted that this was the total amount of mail-in and absentee ballots that were expected to be approved.