How America Elects Its President 美国是如何选举总统

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选举学院(又译“选举人团”)

美国人是在十一月八日去投票选举总统的,但是并非获得最高选票的候选人就自动成为总统了。获胜者是由538位成员的选举学院来决定的。

选举学院并不是普通有学生和老师的学校,而是由各个州为选美国总统而派出的代表群人组成的。

每一个州都有一样人口比例的代表进入这个选举学院来代表他们各自的州。所以选举学院的代表是根据该州的人口来决定的。

人口最少的阿拉斯加州和佛蒙特州仅有三位代表进入选举学院,而人口最多的加利福尼亚州却有五十五位代表。

美国宪法规定建立的选举学院制度,就是不需要得票最多的参选者获胜,虽然实际上常常是得票最多者获胜。

使用这样的投票计算方式就使候选人不会因为有多数人投他的票就有很大的好处。如果这一次投票,在加州有99%的人投了希拉里的票,她就得到了整个加州在选举学院的55张选票了,但是她如果加州只有51%的人投希拉里的票,她还是得到了整个加州的选举学院的55张选票了。

除了两个州以外,其他的四十八个州,无论是赢了1%,还是赢了20%,赢了的候选人就获得该州全部的选举学院的选票。


选举学院对竞选的影响

对川普来说,他是共和党的候选人;对希拉里来说,她是民主党的候选人,他们就不需要到那些一定会支持他们的州里去作竞选演说了。

比如,川普就可能知道,他大概就不必在阿拉斯加州、爱达荷、和其他七个州去作竞选演说了,因为这几个州从1968年以来都支持共和党的。

对希拉里来说,她可能就不必在明尼苏达州、纽约州、和其他六个州里多化力气来作竞选演说,因为这些州从1988年以来都支持民主党。

没有一个州比俄爱俄州的选举更重要了,因为自从1964年以来,他们选的都是当选总统。

因此,俄爱俄州的选举就成为人们所注意的动向了。

在俄爱俄州的托莱多市的代表马西 · 卡普图尔,是一位从1983年以来一直当选的代表。她对美国之音记者说,“电视台的广告、电台的广告、电话、直接敲门,人们以各种方式连珠炮式地从全国各地赶来到这里为他们的候选人竞选。”

大卫 · 科恩是阿克伦大学政治科学教授。他和其他研究人员发现,2012 年的总统候选人访问俄亥俄州更比任何其他国家。但其他国家,包括最大的加州和纽约,得到"几乎完全忽视,"科恩说。


选举学院会寿终正寝吗?

因为竞选对待各个州是不同等的,有些人认为应该结束选举学院。他们想要美国要以赢得最多选票的候选人成为美国总统。

"目前生活和红色 (共和党)州里,或蓝色(民主党)州中投票的选民,实际上是被剥夺了投票的权利,因为他们的投票并不重要。"根据 Moveon.org 网站上所刊登的一份请愿书所述。

但美国的投票制度改变为仅以投票得票数来决定胜负,这将需要改变美国宪法 。这个过程并不容易。

美国企业研究所专家,诺姆 · 奥尼斯汀指出,如果改为以民众投票数来决定胜负的话,候选人就有理由不在在较小的州里进行竞选演说了。

而且他也担心,一定有比较接近的投票,全国五十个州都会相竟重新数点票数了。

佛罗里达州官员曾经花了几周的时间来重新数点选票。直到美国最高法院做出 5-4 决定停止重新计票。

最后,在佛罗里达州的选举学院的票都归了布什。这些选票,足以给他击败民主党候选人戈尔,从而担任美国总统,尽管戈尔全国得票统计中比布什多了 500,000 选票。

2000 年的选举只是美国所有的总统选举历史中仅有的四次,当选举总统的所得的选举学院的票数结果与民众投票得票多数者不一致的情况。其他的三次是发生在 19 世纪。

在这三次中的一次竞选中,两位候选人都没有获得了所需的投票数量。按照美国宪法,由众议院决定获胜者。

在其他两个竞选中,一位候选人就如民主党的戈尔类似,虽然在某些州里获得了极大的票数。但他按照美国宪法的规定,在选举学院中输给了另外一位候选人。

美国之音记者:布鲁斯 · 阿尔珀特报道。


讨论问题:

  1. 你觉得这篇报道有什么使你感兴趣的地方?

  2. 你对今年美国总统选举的两位候选人,川普和希拉里知道多少?

  3. 你觉得谁会成为美国总统?为什么?

  4. 你觉得美国的选举方式对其他国家有什么影响?如果有的话,你觉得是什么样的影响呢?


The Electoral College

Americans go the polls to vote for president on November 8, but the candidate with the most votes does not automatically win. The winner is decided by the 538 members of the Electoral College.

The Electoral College does not have any students or teachers. Instead, it is a group of people who represent their states in the U.S. presidential contest.

Each state has the same number of members in the Electoral College that they have representatives in Congress. That number is decided by the state’s population.

States with the smallest number, including Alaska and Vermont, have three members of the Electoral College. The state with the largest number, California, has 55.

The U.S. Constitution, which established the Electoral College system, does not require members of the Electoral College to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in their states. But they almost always do.

As a result, in most states, candidates do not benefit more by winning a larger percentage of the popular vote. So, if 99 percent of voters in California select Hillary Clinton, she will receive all of California’s 55 votes in the Electoral College. If only 51 percent of voters in California select Hillary Clinton, she will still receive all of California’s 55 Electoral College votes.

In all but two states, whether they win by 1 percent or 20 percent, candidates still get the same number of Electoral College votes.


How the Electoral College affects campaigns

The Electoral College system means that Donald Trump, the likely Republican candidate, and Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic candidate, will not campaign in states where they think they already know who will win.

For example, Donald Trump will probably take Alaska, Idaho, and seven other states. Republicans presidential candidates there have won every election since 1968.

Hillary Clinton will probably carry Minnesota, New York, and the other six states that voted for every Democratic presidential candidate since 1988.

None is more important than Ohio. That state has voted for every winning presidential candidate since 1964.

As a result, Ohio receives a lot of attention.

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat, has represented the Ohio city of Toledo since 1983. She talked about what it is like in Ohio a few weeks before a presidential election day.

“We get a barrage of television ads, radio ads, phone calls, people knocking on our doors, and lots of people coming to our state from other parts of the country to campaign for their candidate,” Kaptur told VOA.

David Cohen is a political science professor at the University of Akron. He and other researchers found that the 2012 presidential candidates visited Ohio more than any other state. But other states, including the largest, California and New York, get “almost completely ignored,” Cohen said.


The end of the Electoral College?

Because campaigns treat the states so differently, some people argue to end the Electoral College. They want the U.S. to elect its president based on the candidate who earns the most votes across the country.

“Voters currently living and voting in a red (Republican) or blue (Democratic) state are disenfranchised, because their vote doesn't matter,” read a petition on the Moveon.org website.

But changing the American system to a popular vote would require changing the U.S. Constitution. That process is not easy.

Norm Ornstein, the American Enterprise Institute expert, points out that changing to a popular vote would also take away a reason for candidates to campaign in smaller states.

And he worries that all 50 states would fight to recount their votes in a close election.

Florida officials spent several weeks recounting the votes. The U.S. Supreme Court made a 5-4 decision to stop the recount.

In the end, Florida’s Electoral College votes went to Bush. Those votes were enough to give him the presidency over Democrat Gore, though Gore won  500,000 more votes nationally than Bush.

The 2000 election was one of only four U.S. elections when the Electoral Vote did not match the popular vote. The other times happened in the 1800s.

In one contest, neither candidate earned the required number of Electoral College votes. The House of Representatives chose the winner.

In the other two contests, one candidate was very popular with voters in a few states. But he lost to the candidate with more national appeal.


I’m Bruce Alpert.


Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

Source:  http://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/how-america-elects-its-president/3329608.html


Discussion questions:

  1. What do you find interesting from this article?

  2. What do you know of the presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?  

  3. Who do you guess will become the president?  Why?

  4. Do you think the election of the American president have any implications outside of the United States? If so, what kind of implications does it have outside of the United States?
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