When I was in school I didn't quite understand how a president could win the popular vote but loose the election. The problem was frequently mentioned, but not explained well enough for me. It turns out that the math involved in understanding how this is even possible is around a third grade level. Adding large numbers and determining which number is greater are the only two skills required. Understanding how the electoral collage works is an important feature to understanding American government.
In conjunction with our crash course in American Government we did this simple worksheet I created. You are welcome to print it for personal use.
Election Math Sheet 1
Election Math Sheet 2
The two sheets contain mock election results for six different elections. In each election the results for the same four states are given. To complete the worksheets first determine if the Stars or Stripes received the electoral votes for the state by determining if the total votes for Stars or Stripes is bigger. Next total up the electoral votes for Stars and for Stripes for each election. The higher total of electoral votes wins the election.
Next, to see who won the popular vote for the election, total up the votes for Stars and the votes for Stripes for each election. Circle the winner for the electoral vote in red. Circle the winner for the popular vote in blue. Are they the same?
This is a great activity to follow up with a writing assignment.
Do you think this system is fair? Why or why not? If you don't think it is fair, how would you change it?