2008 Presidential Electors


THE Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, every fourth year, is a day of great interest to the American people. 

In the evening of that day, eager throngs gather about the newspaper bulletins and the telegraph offices all over this country to catch the latest news of the presidential election.

But the ballots, which the people will cast on the second day of November next, will have printed on them, not the, names of the men whom the voters desire to see President and Vice-President, but the names of certain other men, called presidential electors. And these presidential electors meet in their respective States on the first Wednesday in December following the election, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President.

It is something of a study to find out the number of presidential electors, as the number is different in the different States. 

The number of electors in a State is equal to the whole number of senators and representatives to which the State may be entitled in Congress. As you know, every State is entitled to two United States senators, it making no difference whether the State is as small as Rhode Island or as large as Texas. As there are now thirty-eight States, there are seventy six senators, and so, of course, seventy-six electors. To these seventy-six electors we must add as many as there are representatives in Congress from all the States.

Every State is entitled to at least one representative. When its population exceeds 131,425, the State is entitled to one representative for every 131,425 of its population. This is plain, when one thoroughly understands it. For instance, the population of Illinois in 1870 was 2,539,891. Divide this sum by 131,425 and we have nineteen and a remainder. 

The remainder is always thrown aside, as it would be rather difficult to send a fraction of a man to Congress, wouldn't it? 

So Illinois sends nineteen representatives. Going through one State after another in this way, we shall find the number of representatives each sends to Washington. 

But when we come to the population of Nevada, we find it put down in the census of 1870 at only 42,491. Certainly 131,425 will not go into 42,491. According to the rule, which we have been following, Nevada is not entitled to any representative at all. But there is an exception to this rule, which says that no matter how small its population, every State shall be entitled to at least one representative.

Now, as the evenings are growing longer, it would be real nice if you could take your slates, and with a table of the population in 1880 of the different States before you, find out just how many representatives each State is entitled to.


DR. FRANKLIN says that "every little fragment of the day should be saved. The moment the day breaks, set yourself at once to save the pieces."