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 and the voting and ballot counting process.
As we head into election week, a key phrase on the minds of both campaigns is “paths to victory”. Under the American electoral college voting 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. For example, a voter choosing Barack Obama in staunchly Republican Mississippi can be sure their state’s six electoral votes will go to Mitt Romney no matter what; similarly, a Republican voter whose ballot is counted in New York may feel their efforts to vote have been wasted because California’s 55 electoral votes will undoubtedly go to Obama, based on the state’s political leanings.