Paths to victory

Electoral college 2 Keystone

Thanks for joining us as we take a look at the American election from Switzerland, bringing you reactions from Swiss in the US, Americans in Switzerland and the Swiss government throughout the final day of campaigning, voting and beyond.

This content was published on November 5, 2012 minutes

As election week begins, a key phrase on the minds of both campaigns is “paths to victory”. The American electoral college system is taking both campaigns to school as they crunch the numbers to find a way to win.

Under the system, it doesn’t matter who wins the most votes overall – instead, the key to victory is who wins the popular vote in which states, amassing at least 270 of the total 538 available electoral votes (see the more detailed explanation in the right column).

This graphic from the New York Times lays out the possible victory paths to 270 for each candidate in an interesting way – according to the graphic, Mitt Romney  has 76 possible ways to win, Barack Obama has 431, and five combinations of state victories for each candidate could result in a tie. This article from Politico explains the possible scenarios in case of a 269-269 electoral tie.

Votes from  Americans living abroad, including in Switzerland, will be counted in the state they last held US residency in. For some voters, especially those living overseas for whom the voting process is more involved, the political leanings of the state they vote in may affect their decision to vote - voting for Obama in Mississippi or Romney in California could be considered a wasted vote, for example.

Photo via Keystone

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