What is the electoral college and what do they do?

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Electoral college votes, which will formalize Joe Biden's victory in November. Mr Biden won the popular vote and with it 306 Electoral college votes enough to beat Donald Trump. This is a constitutionally mandated process that usually passes everyone by, but because the incumbent president Trump has insistently cast doubt on the veracity of the result. Onto attention is being paid to it today. So how does this increasingly controversial system work? The BBC's Jane O'Brien has been talking to people in the New England state of Maine to see if they understand it. I know it has to do with states and The state has a number and That's how they end up getting there there count, but Don't really know more left and that was to do with the voting. And I know it's to do with like each state, right. I believe has certain people to get to pick. And I really think it's Clark. You don't agree with it. I don't do you know who you're electors are No, no, we don't know. Don't know. I don't know if that's ever really made very public to tell you the truth. No, I don't think it is. Was Jane O'Brien reporting Well, we can now speak to a member of the Electoral College for the State of New York. Randi Weingarten is the president of the American Federation of Teachers on she joins us from New York State's capital City, Albany. Welcome to the program. I'm glad to be with you. Now you've just arrived. I understand with your Yes, And I agree with your the people who have been on your broadcasts that it should actually be voting by popular vote rather than the Electoral college. Right. So that's something that the Democratic policy generally appears to agree with. You are, I think in the Statehouse and Albany you excited about casting this vote. I am because you know, I'm also a social studies teacher. And so even though it you know the electoral college fields are k it on do we should change it. It is a part of the Constitution and it is a part of the Constitution because of Balance that you know that our framers did back in the 17 hundreds between states rights and personal rights and federal rights. It's not your first time of an elector. But you also have a distinguished group this year, including the former first lady Hillary Clinton. Tell us what you're going to be doing. So, um, you know, it is because of court. Number one. You know we are voting personally. But because of covert. There are many different precautions that are being done this year, So the first thing is that everybody's Taking, you know one of those rapid tests and androgen tests to make sure that you know they are test negative. And so that even though everyone's going to be wearing masks and physically distancing No. The state is taking those kind of precautions. And then assumedly. We're gonna be in the statehouse in one of the chambers on bears gonna be, um you know, there's gonna be a big box and that we're going to each, um, you know, put our ballot into that box were sworn To vote for the candidate who won New York State and basically New York has the number of electoral votes that match its number of senators and it's number of congressional representatives. That's why you have about 538 electoral votes across the country. And all of us will be voting assumedly way are bound to it. We will be voting in New York for Joe Biden today. Right and and and in the past, you have cast your vote for Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Clinton in 2016. But this year, the man in the White House is is someone that you have supported. Right this year. It's the first time I've done this, you know. And look as I said, I'm uh you know, I'm a civics teacher, So I am honored and, you know, And to me. This is very, very moving to be part of this kind of history and I used to teach my kids what are taught in school, you know about the electoral college, but but this time because of what Donald Trump has done to try to undermine the democracy in the United States, it's very, very important and it's got a lot of attention. And this time I also actually I'm voting for the winner. And then when you say you know that you find this process moving, What would you say to your students? Given that we have had on incumbent president challenging the veracity of the result and and continuing to pursue which is his right in the courts that challenge But But he has come to an end of that of those challenges now. Well, it is his right to challenge if he had fax to challenge it. It's everybody's right. Everyone has a due process right to challenge But normally as the Supreme Court just said, this is our Supreme Court just said Um, you know, the Texas suing the other for the four battleground states. Texas has a right to decide what to do in terms of its Election, but that has a right to do to determine how the other states do. It's election. So just tell me briefly. What? What you would say to your civic students about this moment that your participating in That this is part of what the framers actually wrote in the 17 hundreds about how we select the president of the United States. It is based upon the votes in different states, and then those votes get aggregated. And then the Electoral College makes that final decision. And so it's part of the history but also part of the dynamism of our democracy. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, and also a member off the Electoral College for the State of New York.

Coming up next