Talk:United States presidential election

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Use of the internet in presidential campaigns[edit]

The history on the use of the internet in presidential campaigns in the "Technology and Media" section of this article is wrong. The first use of the internet for a presidential candidate was used by Bill Clinton in 1992, not 1996. The internet and Clinton's website was very small and went largely unnoticed in 1992, but it was still there that year. The article also states that the internet was first developed in the mid 1990s, but the internet was first launched in 1991.


"In 1992, it was Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign that first utilized the Internet to communicate with the electorate(Hendricks and Kaid 4). However, overall the Internet played a minor role in this election process. In fact, Richard Davis, author of The Web of Politics: The Internet’s Impact on the American Political System, notes that Clinton’s use of the Internet solicited little notice from journalists or the public, few of whom would have been connected online at the time (87). Therefore, considering that the Internet was an extremely new form of media and not yet commonly embraced, Clinton’s use of a website was innovative in 1992 even if its sole purpose was the dissemination of information to constituents."Bjoh249 (talk) 04:36, 24 February 2013 (UTC)

The first use of the internet was actually by the Dukakis campaign in 1988. The Florida office had a CompuServe account and used it to look for political articles in newspapers around the country to send to the Boston headquarters. There is photographic and other evidence to prove this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mendelsber (talkcontribs) 18:02, 30 May 2017 (UTC)

  • The Internet as we now know it began in 1982 with the standardization of TCP/IP. You’re thinking of the World Wide Web that was launched in 1991. And Compuserve was not on the Internet, it was a separate, private, dial-up service. That’s notable because it was an early social media platform with a large clientele nationwide — but it only started *exchanging mail* with the Internet in 1989, a year after Dukakis. Public access to the Internet didn’t begin until 1990; I’m not sure if Compuserve was ever actually *on* the Internet (i.e. allowing access to Compuserve through other Internet Service Providers over TCP/IP, or providing access to Internet FTP servers or Web content like AOL did). — Andy Anderson 02:49, 31 May 2017 (UTC)

Current popularity polling for presidential hopefuls, 2012.[edit]

For those interested (WP editors and WP readers/contributers) here is a running average of polling for the 2012 presidential election. Shown here is the Republican side.[1]

Merging all U.S. states presidential primary and election articles[edit]

You are invited to join the discussion at Talk:Republican Party presidential primaries, 2012#Merging all U.S. states presidential primary and election articles into one article for each state. The proposal is to merge all articles on different state primaries (both democratic and republican) and the articles on the presidential election (where such exist) in to one single article for each state. See United States presidential election in New Hampshire, 2008 It is possible to see how the 2008 and 2012 articles will look like if this large merges was completed. This issue have been discussed for a month on this talkpage without a clear consensus and the merge proposal is so massive that it would be good to get a wide range of editors to comment on it. Jack Bornholm (talk) 17:01, 21 May 2012 (UTC)

% in table[edit]

Table in Electoral College Results section need to be added by % of voters because no such common table in Wiki anywere. (talk) 10:41, 8 June 2012 (UTC)

Tax returns[edit]

I have added a section on this subject. (talk) 22:39, 27 August 2012 (UTC)

I see that this section has been edited. None of those edits were by me, but I don't object to them, for the most part. I appreciate that Belchfire pretty much preserved the info. Regarding Fat & Happy, I am satisfied that he/she preserved the cited footnotes, per WP: Preserve. I hesitate to criticize edits by an editor who is as experienced and valuable as Fat & Happy, but will go ahead anyway. Objections like Recentism and Undue weight are often valid editorial opinions, and I respect that. But please be more careful about edit summaries asserting POV. In this instance, the listed information was just factual historical information, and was not presented to push any POV. Yes, factual information can sometimes serve the purposes of a POV; for example, the scientific fact that burning oil releases a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere serves the environmental POV, but that's no justification for excluding it from Wikipedia. So too with the historical list deleted from this article, except that it's not clear to me what POV it served. Anyway, I won't restore the list, since the sources are preserved, but I also don't support removing it. There's nothing POV about it. As for Recentism, the historical nature of the list shows it is not merely recent. Undue weight is a closer question, but the shortness of the list made it acceptable in that regard, IMHO. Again, my main point is that it's not a good idea to fling around POV assertions; you might as well attack other editors as propagandists. The goal was simply to provide useful and relevant info to readers. The shoe just doesn't fit in this case. Apologies if I'm oversensitive about it, but I have good reason to be. Cheers. (talk) 00:42, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
You're right. Although I can somewhat understand why Belchfire described the commentary as POV when s/he first removed it, I think the objections to the paragraph are more complex than that and it's an oversimplification to describe it that way. I should have been more cautious about repeating it when I undid your reversion of both our changes. Fat&Happy (talk) 02:55, 29 August 2012 (UTC)
Okay, thanks, but please note that I did not revert you here at this article. Another IP editor (with whom I have no connection) did that. (talk) 03:10, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Opening Paragraph[edit]

This is somewhat difficult to read. It could perhaps be improved thus:

"The election of the President and Vice President of the United States is an indirect vote in which citizens ***vote for*** <instead of ***cast ballots for a slate of members of*** <'slate' is particulary unhelpful for comprehension>> the U.S. Electoral College; these electors in turn directly elect the President and Vice President. Presidential elections occur ***every four years*** <the term ***quadrennially*** adds nothing> (the count beginning with the year 1792) on Election Day, the Tuesday between November 2 and 8,[1] ***which coincides*** <rather than ***coinciding with***> the general elections of various other federal, states and local races <this sentence is not perfectly composed; perhaps ***local administrations***?>. ***The most recent United States Presedential Election was held on November 4 2008, and the next will be November 6 2012.*** <rather than***The most recent was the 2008 presidential election, held on November 4 that year. The next will be the 2012 election, to be held on November 6.***>" — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jamesthecat (talkcontribs) 13:22, 28 October 2012 (UTC)

Incorrect information in the History section?[edit]

The second sentence of the fourth paragraph of the History section reads in part "[t]he candidate with the highest number of votes (provided it was a majority of the electoral votes) became the president." The information in the parenthetical is incorrect.

The U.S. Constitution provided explicitly that the person must have received a "majority of the whole number of electors appointed." [Article II, Section 1, Clause 3.] As the article correctly points out, each elector was to have cast 2 votes, thus allowing for twice as many electoral votes as the number of electors.

In the 1796 presidential election, there were 138 electors and 276 electoral votes. No person received 139 votes, or "a majority of the electoral votes," but John Adams was elected president. He received 71 electoral votes, 51.45% of 138 and a "majority of the whole number of electors appointed."

I suggest the parenthetical in the above-referenced sentence be revised to read "(provided it was a majority of the electors)."--Dbillsigmtn (talk) 17:35, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

No Section on Historical Campaign Trends[edit]

I was surprised to find that this article is lacking a section on Campaigning History. Whoever wrote it, seems to think that things only changed with the advent of TV and the internet. There is no mention of how presidents used to sit at home instead of making a parade of themselves, as it would have been thought inappropriate decorum. Nor how the Lincoln-Douglas Debates spurred the creation of the Presidential Debates (Kennedy-Nixon), which are now an integral part of the campaigning process. Is this the correct article to add this information to, or is there somewhere else where this information exists, or a better place to add it? I want to check before I add a bunch of information here on the topic... please see some references, for instance: , also antebellum presidential campaign protocol. Please advise LFevas (talk) 10:16, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

Criticisms of the Electoral College[edit]

"This gives certain swing states, states in which no single candidate or party has overwhelming support, disproportionate influence.” This is a POV inaccuracy of the NPV advocates. The influence of “swing states” in the Electoral College is in fact proportionate in their influence by the same apportionment rule as other states, the number of representatives plus two, the number of senators. There is “disproportionate interest” in swing states. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 14:58, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Content in that section should probably be in sync with the details on both the Swing state and Electoral College (United States) articles. I currently do not see " disproportionate influence" on either of those pages. Zzyzx11 (talk) 04:43, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

"Criticisms" critique[edit]

The first half of “Criticisms” is a criticism not of the Electoral College, but of the primary process adopted by the two major national political parties. It should be removed as off-topic to the article, with the information perhaps integrated into Two party system or Politics of the United States. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:18, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

I fail to see how anything about the presidential primary process can be considered "off-topic". This article is a general overview of the entire United States presidential election process, so that section is also an overview of the criticisms of the entire United States presidential election process. Election Day and the Electoral College are only part of the final steps. The United States presidential primaries and United States presidential nominating conventions are also part of this process. Without also summarizing the nomination process and its criticisms, this general article on U.S. presidential elections would be incomplete. We should not essentially hide information on the nomination/primary process to other articles, especially to a worldwide audience who may be unfamiliar with how all of this works, and may be unaware how much the two major national political parties have influence in selecting presidential candidates (I mean every presidential election year we get lots of people on Wikipedia:Reference desk asking questions about this complex system, and it is beneficial to have an article like this as a starting point for them that sums the whole thing up). Zzyzx11 (talk) 05:32, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
Well, then, something needs to be said under “criticisms” of the current system regarding the major political party bias for the concentrated media markets in urban centers and state-wide political machines reflected in the state winner-take all system of choosing Presidential Electors. Third party votes are possible, state geographic or urban-rural splits can be articulated as in Nebraska 2012, with the District Plan, another state-by-state reform in addition to the NPV proposal. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 09:06, 22 October 2014 (UTC)
I can only add criticism content based on what reliable sources I can find and verify, or what is already included in other Wikipedia articles. Two-party system#Causes does talk about how the winner-takes-all system reinforces the two-party system (as oppose to the Maine/Nebraska District system). But I'm having trouble finding sources that specifically address the bias for the concentrated media markets in urban centers, or the statewide political machines. Political machine#Political machines in the United States does not portray them with criticism per se. Nor do I see any content regarding the urban media market bias on either Two party system, Politics of the United States, or Political parties in the United States. Zzyzx11 (talk) 06:44, 23 October 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the update in the article mainspace. It may be that I may add something with reliable sources that all can verify as well in the spirit of Wikipedia.
Illinois regularly has officials going to jail from both parties related to voting tombstones, fortunately their fraud is limited to the numbers apportioned to Illinois in the Electoral College, and we do not have to await 2-3 years for a Federal District Court to determine the President while adjudicating vote counts there. With the District Plan, the abuses in Cook County Illinois, for instance, would be confined to the two at-large electors versus the 20 electors determined by winner-take-all. In rural Virginia, Democratic precincts find their voting machines breaking down each election, resulting in fewer machines per registered voter, and lower turnout, as those at the end of long lines leave before voting.
These are both anecdotal on my part now, so at this point I do not propose adding them to the article. But it is useful to understand the scope of the article subject matter as you understand it, a general overview of the entire United States presidential election process. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 10:46, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Political party machines and turnout[edit]

@Zzyzx11: To continue our discussion, While I am alert to the importance of not imaging other Wikipedia articles, relative to political party machines and turnout in the present winner-take-all Electoral College state practice, from Electoral College in two separated sections,

Except in closely fought swing states, voter turnout is largely insignificant due to entrenched political party domination in most states. The Electoral College decreases the advantage a political party or campaign might gain for encouraging voters to turn out, except in those swing states. REF Nivola, Pietro (January 2005). "Thinking About Political Polarization" (139). Brookings Institution Policy Brief.

Advocates of the Congressional District Method believe the system would encourage higher voter turnout and incentivize presidential candidates to broaden their campaigns in non-competitive states. REF McNulty, Timothy (December 23, 2012). "Pennsylvania looks to alter state's electoral vote system". Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Should each reform proposal get its own paragraph elaborating what advocates discuss? TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:33, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Yes, I would also agree to start a new "Reforms" section here. But again, this is a general overview article, and should be more written as a "summary style". Having a paragraph on each reform seems a bit much. Even Electoral College (United States)#Discourages turnout and participation, which really talks about the benefits of a national popular vote, is one paragraph. Each reform, and what each respective supporters say about it, could be easily summed up in 2-3 sentences here. Zzyzx11 (talk) 05:14, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps that we should also mention that in many European countries, voting is mandatory (to be done either manually, or via the internet, or by allowing someone to vote in your place if you can't show up for manual voting). This makes the voting process more honest, since many people simply don't vote at all (hence benefitting one of the candidates over the other).
Another criticism we might mention is that the current US voting system where the winner takes all for a specific state actually benefits the larger parties over the smaller ones. This way, smaller parties can also not grow over time as people won't vote on them at all if they're too small and so have no chance of winning the state anyway. This might be a major reason why only 2 large parties (Democrats and Republicans) exist in the US, despite the fact that many may feel they're better represented by some of the smaller parties. In most countries in Europe, this isn't the case, and a country or region is run by all parties, which each one having more/less influence based on the degree of the amount of votes they received. Also, it avoids the problem that a candidate may win the election even if he received fewer votes but has won more states.

KVDP (talk) 08:21, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

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In my humble opinion, the usage of asterisks (*) and daggers (†) as footnote indexes is archaic and not appropriate to modern media such as Wikipedia; and confusing and conflicting with their alternative (if not even real) meaning, when they are used in lists of names of people. --Mykhal (talk) 10:08, 16 October 2016 (UTC)

Addition to lead proposed[edit]

The entire lead section gives the impression that electors are important in some way. Maybe they once were but now they are pledged to a particular presidential candidate and thus their function is largely ceremonial.

I suggest the following addition (in italics) to the first paragraph:

The election of President and Vice President of the United States is, technically, an indirect election in which citizens of the United States who are registered to vote in one of the fifty states or Washington, D.C. cast ballots for a set of members of the U.S. Electoral College, known as electors. In modern times, almost all electors are pledged to a particular presidential candidate and thus the results of the election can be determined based on the state-by-state popular vote.
The electors, in turn, cast direct votes, known as electoral votes, for President and Vice President of the United States. Each state casts as many electoral votes as the total number of Senators and Representatives it has. The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes for President or Vice President is then elected to that office. ...

Any comments? --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 02:02, 25 October 2016 (UTC)

@10qwerty: You reversed my posting in the lead (your second revision on Oct 30), without ever explaining your reasoning here in the talk page. I have not re-posted as I wish to give you time to explain. Please state why you feel that the old revision is better than the new. As I said up above, I think that it's important to state why the electoral college doesn't count very much now while the electoral votes are still very consequential. --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 20:13, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I did not see the talk page, and your post, prior to my edits. What I did was is not the "old version" per se. I did a copyedit to try to make it easier for non-U.S readers (and perhaps those in the U.S. who may be unfamiliar with it) to more logically understand. I tried to maintain the gist of what you originally added, which was all merged into the first paragraph (specifically your additions were merged into the third and fourth sentences) so it is just about the general process. Then I moved all the dates of Election Day, Electoral college voting, Congress certifying, etc, to the second paragraph. And then the U.S. Constitution stuff and history in the third paragraph. And then the fourth paragraph talks about the nomination process. In the previous version, the explanations of the electoral college process, the specific dates, and the U.S. Constitution citations/history seemed to be all over the place. This entire election process is complex, and it does not help if the lede here is likewise complex to understand. Thanks. 10qwerty 18:01, 5 November 2016 (UTC)
@10qwerty: No problem. I split the first paragraph -- it was getting kind of long. And I corrected a minor misspelling in the (now) third 'graph. Revert them if you think it's wise.
By the way, do you know all the states choose electors based on plurality? (The Electoral College subsection defines "plurality" as either winner-take-all or based on congressional districts. That is wrong. If any district in Maine or Nebraska does not receive a majority, I think that a plurality would win that district.) So, if all of the states choose their electors by plurality, my opinion is that that should be added to the lead. --RoyGoldsmith (talk) 15:16, 7 November 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 9 November 2016[edit]

Please include Johnson in other candidates for 2106 as he got greater than 1% of vote Donaldjljr (talk) 16:35, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Not done: this is the talk page for discussing improvements to the page United States presidential election. If possible, please make your request at the talk page for the article concerned. If you cannot edit the article's talk page, you can instead make your request at Wikipedia:Requests for page protection#Current requests for edits to a protected page. Appears malplaced. It's also unclear exactly what material you are requesting to be changed. Also, please consider establishing a consensus for the addition. — Andy W. (talk) 19:16, 9 November 2016 (UTC)
  • The requester is referring to the table of “Electoral college results”. The following section is asking for the same thing. But someone has made the change they were requesting. — Andy Anderson 17:18, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

Electoral college results[edit]

Hi. The lede to the results section says that candidates "that received at least 1.0% of the total popular vote or more than one electoral vote" are listed. Doesn't that mean Gary Johnson and Jill Stein should be added for the 2016 election? Johnson got over 3 % of the vote, and Stein is currently at 1.02 %. 96T (talk) 08:49, 22 November 2016 (UTC)

Listing all electoral vote recipients[edit]

With all of the discussion about faithless electors this election season, I came to this article to get some background, and discovered that their votes have not been listed in the table of “Electoral college results”, resulting in an electoral vote count that didn’t add up to the total available. So I started adding them using information from the Federal Register and notes about their status. But I started at the end and worked backwards, and when I reached 1800 I saw this note introducing the table: “For simplicity, candidates listed are only those that received at least 1.0% of the total popular vote or more than one electoral vote for elections including and after 1824, or greater than 5 electoral votes for elections including and before 1820”. I believe it is important for the historical record to list all electoral votes, so I would like to continue for the early elections and change this note to say instead “Candidates listed are only those that received at least 1.0% of the total popular vote or at least one electoral vote”. I’ll also add a total electoral vote column. — Andy Anderson 17:14, 11 December 2016 (UTC)

Electoral Vote Counts Without Faithless Electors Should Be in Each Election Page[edit]

In light of the large number of faithless electors that voted today, it seems that the standard templates at the top of the election pages fail to adequately address the issue. Take the 2000 election, for example: before the faithless elector, Bush won 271-267. That the top of the page says 271-266 obscures that fact that given how every electoral college jurisdiction has at least 3 electoral votes, any one state would've put Gore over the top because had he gotten exactly 270 EVs, its doubtful he would've had any faithless electors. Faithless electors tend to only act when the winner/loser result is fait accompli. Therefore, I propose that the infobox at the top of the election pages has stars for faithless electors or parens after the actual count with how many faithless electors there were.Atrix20 (talk) 02:36, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

That would really clutter up the infobox, but it should be mentioned somehow in the text of the article if it isn't already. Faithless electors have never affected the outcome of an election. JTRH (talk) 03:05, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
I think "faithless electors" could be a line under "electoral vote" or "pledged electoral vote" could be a line under "electoral vote." One of the beauties of Wikipedia is the ability to draw data for purposes of analysis. It can be better done by reflecting somewhere where people can more easily see the true pertinent election results. Atrix20 (talk) 11:15, 20 December 2016 (UTC)