It Isn’t Over Until . . . Later

Winner-ButtonToday is election day in the U.S.

By the end of the day, we’ll probably know who the next president will be. I say “probably” because today is not the end of the process. Voting on election day is the most important step, but it’s not the last step in choosing a new president.

The men who wrote the U.S. Constitution were cautious (careful to avoid problems). They thought about having Congress choose the next president. And they thought about having the president chosen by popular vote (vote of the people). They compromised – they came up with (created; made) a process that includes some of both.

The Electoral College is an important part of the process. It’s a group of people, called electors, who are appointed (chosen) by each state to meet and formally (officially) elect the next president.

When U.S. citizens vote for a presidential candidate (someone who wants to be president), they are choosing electors from their state. The presidential candidate who wins the popular vote in each state usually gets all of the electors from that state (Maine and Nebraska are exceptions).

There are 538 electors, the number of members of Congress plus 3 for the District of Columbia, where our capital, Washington, is. Each state has one elector for each of its senators (2) and representatives (more for larger states, fewer for smaller). California, for example, has 55 electors. A presidential candidate must receive 270 electoral votes to become president.

The U.S. election is always held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November – November 8 this year. After the election results are added up, the governor of each state sends an official copy of the election results and a list of electors to Congress.

In the middle of December, the electors meet in their home states and cast (make) their votes. The electors’ votes are counted and put onto an official list, called a “Certificate of Vote,” which is sent to Congress.

On January 6, the House of Representatives and the Senate meet together to count the electors’ votes. The vice president, who is the president of the Senate, leads this meeting and, after the votes have been counted, he officially announces the newly-elected President and Vice President of the United States.

Is all of this necessary? And is it fair (best for everyone)? There’s a lot of disagreement about that. Some election results have been decided by the Electoral College – it is possible to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote. That’s what happened in 2000. Al Gore received more popular votes than George W. Bush, but Bush became president because he won in states with more electoral votes.

In 1824 both candidates received the same number of electoral votes. When that happens, the Constitution requires that the House of Representatives choose the president. The House chose John Quincy Adams, who won fewer popular votes than Andrew Jackson.

If you’d like to know more about the process, here are two very good, easy-to-understand explanations:

~ Warren Ediger – ESL tutor/coach and creator of the Successful English website

Photo from

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30 Responses to It Isn’t Over Until . . . Later

  1. Hilario says:

    An old saying states that good things if brief they turn into twice good things and by symmetry, boring things if they last much turn into triple of boring.

    As cautious men, the constitution´s fathers could not have envisage in what the long process could turn into one a such stupid show business.

    Shortening all the way into just a couple of weeks should it be enough to complete delivery if we take into account that the today’s state of the art in digital voting technology perfectly supports that.

    Government officials should understand that citizens deserve much more respect than that and the media should behave a neutral distance from political positions and acting in aseptic by only fact checking statements.

    Is all of this necessary? And is it fair? Dear Warren, the answer is obviously “not”.

  2. Marco A. Galindo says:

    Unfortunately thousands of voters do not understand how this system works, in my opinion as many think, I consider that the system is corrupted and fraudulent.

  3. emiliano says:

    Here in Spain it´s 3 a.m., I can´t believe what my eyes are seen
    about the result of USA elections at this moment.
    But I am not going to say anything as I reserve my own opinion
    for myself only.

    By the way I agree with Hilario´s note.

  4. emiliano says:

    “Every country has the government it deserves”

    This sentence was said by José de Maistre (1753-1821)
    but André Malraux (1901-1976) just modify the idea and
    said instead “the people of a country has the government
    Even Winston Churchill said something similar talking
    about Spain and the dictator Franco who was here for
    thirty five years.

    May be today it has been elected the person deserved
    by the USA people too.

  5. emiliano says:

    Franciso de Quevedo one of the best Spanish writer
    made a poem with the tittle “Powerful Gentleman is Don Money”
    Here it is translated:

    Over kings and priests and scholars
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money.

    Mother, unto gold I yield me,
    He and I are ardent lovers;
    Pure affection now discovers
    How his sunny rays shall shield me!
    For a trifle more or less
    All his power will confess,
    Over kings and priests and scholars
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money.

    In the Indies did they nurse him,
    While the world stood round admiring;
    And in Spain was his expiring;
    And in Genoa did they hearse him;
    And the ugliest at his side
    Shines with all of beauty’s pride;
    Over kings and priests awl scholars
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money.

    He’s a gallant, he’s a winner,
    Black or white be his complexion;
    He is brave without correction
    As a Moor or Christian sinner.
    He makes cross and medal bright,
    And he smashes laws of right,—
    Over kings and priests and scholars
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money.

    Noble are his proud ancestors
    For his blood-veins are patrician;
    Royalties make the position
    Of his Orient investors;
    So they find themselves preferred
    To the duke or country herd,—
    Over kings and priests and scholars,
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money!

    Of his standing who can question
    When there yields unto his rank, a
    Hight-Castillian Doña Blanca,
    If you follow the suggestion?—
    He that crowns the lowest stool,
    And to hero turns the fool,—
    Over kings and priests and scholars,
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money.

    On his shields are noble bearings;
    His emblazonments unfurling
    Show his arms of royal sterling
    All his high pretensions airing;
    And the credit of his miner
    Stands behind the proud refiner,
    Over kings and priests and scholars
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money.

    Contracts, bonds, and bills to render,
    Like his counsels most excelling,
    Are esteemed within the dwelling
    Of the banker and the lender.
    So is prudence overthrown,
    And the judge complaisant grown,—
    Over kings and priests and scholars
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money.

    Such indeed his sovereign standing
    (With some discount in the order),
    Spite the tax, the cash-recorder
    Still his value fixed is branding.
    He keeps rank significant
    To the prince or Finn in want,—
    Over kings and Priests and scholars
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money.

    Never meets he dames ungracious
    To his smiles or his attention,
    How they glow but at the mention
    Of his promises capacious!
    And how bare-faced they become
    To the coin beneath his thumb
    Over kings and Priests and scholars
    Rules the mighty Lord of Money.

    Mightier in peaceful season
    (And in this his wisdom showeth)
    Are his standards, than when bloweth
    War his haughty blasts and breeze on;
    In all foreign lands at home,
    Equal e’en in pauper’s loam,—
    Over kings and priests and scholars
    Rules the mighty Lord of Dollars, Euros or Pounds…..

    Written by Francisco de Quevedo y Villegas
    about the year 1620 but I think it is valid for today.
    Without Money you are nothing and never could be
    elected anywhere round the world.


  6. Dan says:

    Hello everybody.

    What a perfect and beautiful day for a quick visit and say hello.

    I almost feel sorry for crooked Hillary, but hey, look at the bright side, she can spend time with her grandchildren
    and spend part of those tens of millions that she took from foreign countries and wall Street, right?
    It seems that having a “public and private position” helps making money but at the same time the American people punished her.

    Congratulations to Trump that despite having everyone and everything against him, won the presidency.
    That’s impressive.

    Guys, this election cycle has been crazy. Never seen anything like this before.
    I enjoyed the ride, it was fun.

    Hey, I have heard rumors that California is leaving the union…hahaha #Calexit
    Come on guys to be so backhurt after all Trump is going to MAGA.

    Bye bye and thanks.

  7. Warren Ediger says:

    In a short blog post, it’s difficult to always say everything you want to say. Here are some additional thoughts:

    1. The U.S. is a “democratic republic”. Part of what that means is that we often choose, or elect, people to do a job for a state or the country as a whole. That’s what the Electoral College does. In addition, it’s part of The Constitution, therefore it is not corrupt (using power in a dishonest or illegal way for your advantage) or fraudulent (deceiving people illegally to gain money, power, etc.).

    2. The U.S. is often referred to as “the great experiment” because, when The Constitution was written more than 200 years ago, no other country had ever tried to do exactly the same thing. This was the first time. That’s why the men who wrote The Constitution were so cautious and included some things, like the Electoral College, that we might not include today. To better understand that, google this short article: “Why on earth do we even have an electoral college anyway?”. It’s in the Washington Post newspaper.

    Finally, a word from my wise father, who died about 10 years ago: Before you criticize, be sure you understand.

  8. emiliano says:

    HILLARY CLINTON 59,595,237 votos – 47.7%
    DONALD TRUMP 59,370,252 votos – 47.5%

    I know the law about USA elections but I don´t really agree with it by all means.
    It doesn´t matter me if the USA Constitution said this or that, or if it has 200 years,
    I have my own opinion about the subject.
    More or less I have the same opinion as what the second amendment said about posses guns and
    carry them, I don´t agree with that and dislike it very much.
    Some time I have thought in going to EE.UU as a tourist and the fact of knowing
    everybody round me may carry a gun has rejected the idea from my mind.

    Even I don´t like the Spanish Constitution about election process I think it is
    necessary to change it.
    I may add that I understand the subject but despite it I am in complete disagreement
    and I don´t care what the Constitution said.
    Obliged to accept it, of course, but having my own personal opinion after all in this
    moment, tomorrow? Who knows what tomorrow is going to happen that could
    affect our feelings and mind.

    It is sure, I am not a good citizen that doubts about nearly everything and being
    a young man there in your country sure I would be thinking in going to Canada
    as soon as possible.
    All the power in Republicans hands? Congress, Parliament, President sure I will be
    thinking in going off far aways.

    By the way, all what happens in USA affects us living in Spain, France or Irak.
    What happens here, or some other countries doesn´t affect us or other that way.

    Thank you Warren for your words and explanation.


  9. emiliano says:

    Nominee George W. Bush/Al Gore
    Party Republican Democratic
    Home state Texas Tennessee
    Running mate Dick Cheney Joseph Lieberman
    Electoral vote 271 266[2]
    States carried 30 20 + DC
    Popular vote 50,456,002 /50,999,897
    Percentage 47.9% 48.4%

    Now it is happening the same with Hillary and Trump
    and difference is increasing….
    is it just?
    I don´t think so
    Constitution may said which ever words written about but
    is it God law?
    Can´t it be changed?

    That´s the matter.


  10. emiliano says:

    With George W. Bush USA and the world goes into a war that still continues, what could had happened
    being president Al Gore?
    By the way Al Gore has The Nobel Peace Prize 2007, so?

    May I have my own opinion about what I, myself, consider just or not?

    Something to think about my friends.

    What is going to do this new USA president with less votes that his opponent?
    That is an enigma….future could tell us.


  11. Dan says:

    Hey guys.

    That is what I call a “Mic drop” there at the end of Warren’s comment.

    If you guys do not know what that is Google it.

    I also agree with his father’s suggestion even if I openly and humbly admit that at times I forget that.


  12. emiliano says:

    Dear Dan and Warren “the gist of the question is not to criticize” it is giving an opinion
    or trying to clarify some subjects that after so many years could be not valid noways
    as your/our society has change so much.

    Even more the population of the EE.UU. two hundred years ago was nine millions, now
    are nealy 320 millions of people.
    Something have change I do think, even more the cultural knowledge of people now is
    absolutely different than it was two hundred years ago.
    What was valid then it could be not so valid now or may be it is necessary to make
    some changes.

    That´s all, and be sure that if I talk about something I use to know at least a bit about
    it, if not my mouth is closed and my pen does´t move an inch.
    Better to be in silence if you have nothing useful to say that´s a Buddist proverb that
    I try to follow.

    Just a pleasure to have some ideas to change among us.


  13. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Nothing is over until every thing is over.
    From Brazil

  14. Aecio Flavio Perim says:

    Let’s just wait and see what USA will be with Trump on the chair. God save USA.
    From Brazil

  15. emiliano says:

    ¿How could I feel myself knowing that if I have voted in California to D.Trump (nearly 3 millions of votes) my vote has been
    added to Hillary Clinton?. Badly, that´s for sure or asking if my vote has any value at all or what is even worst it has been added to the contrary candidate I wanted to vote.

    The same for the people in Florida, if I voted in Florida to Hillary (4.4 millions) my vote has been added to Donald Trump (4.591 millions), sure I feel myself really badly or angry.

    Knowing that is easy to understand the low electoral turnout in EE.UU., 50 per cent usually what is really very low compared to
    the majority of countries in Europe.

    In Denmark for instance in the last elections 87,7 per cent of the census
    In Germany 73 per cent on the last years
    In Spain the last election 70 per cent after another on the same year.
    (very easy to consult having the web)

    and so forth.

    Is it just?
    Anything to modify after 200 years?

    That´s a question for the American people after all but please have in mind that what happens in EE.UU. affects
    to all of us so we have the right to have opinions, and they could pleased or not but there they are.

    Well I do think it is enough, so I am not going to say anything more as its your country, it is you constitution, it is
    your law and of course it is your new elected president that it is necessary and obliged to respect since
    just this moment.


  16. Tania says:


    To me, it was a fascinating night watching the presidential elections, watching and competent debates.
    For the first time I have heard about anti systemic movement (ASM), the establishment, the birth of new holistic class divisions…
    The election result is a consequence of the dissatisfaction of the ordinary people, of the people without a work place… they all voted for the change.
    I would do the same.
    Congratulations, American people!

  17. Tania says:


    Thank you for the article “How the electoral college works?” and for the video lesson “Does your vote count?”.
    Jeff promised us, in Learn English Magazine, to explain more detailed about the presidential elections.
    I can’t understand how a magazine with 50 thousand downloads can’t work.
    We need Learn English Magazine!

  18. emiliano says:

    Sad day to me, one my best poets and singers has died this night.

    Leonard Cohen

    Rest in Peace and to all his family, friends and fans my deep


  19. emiliano says:

    Hi Tania, it seems to me that still you have faith and that´s good of
    May be you are too young and have not seen your illusions going off.

    Sorry, but I don´t believe a single word of that man and other
    like him may say. Here in Spain we have a lot with similar words.
    In fact don´t believe nothing of a politic person could say.
    My mother said “good acts or actions are love and not good words”
    She was a wise person beside the best mother together with Cuca.

    History taught us what these popular kind of persons could do speeching
    what ordinary people that have nothing, not work, not house, not…..
    like to ear.

    Wait and see.

    My best to you dear Tania. emiliano

  20. emiliano says:

    Something about my country and the good acts:

    Spain, is world leader in transplants for the 24th consecutive year.
    But have in mind that these are for free to all Spanish people or legal
    residents, even some who are not legal have rights about medical care.

    The same with all Sanity Social Security, you pay nothing if you or
    me or other need any kind of surgical intervention, the same with the

    My sister had a tumor(cancer) in her two breasts, she needed all
    kind of proofs, very expensive of course, she had her intervention,
    chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and lot of medicines along three months
    or more.
    Recently another sugical complicate intervention being in the
    hospital a long time.

    Cost for her, nothing, not a single euro and the same for each
    person living here, Spaniard or other residents.

    In fact may be here we have the first medical social security.

    Who was the first government to establish social security
    in Spain?.
    A minister of the dictator Franco, on the years fifty.
    Lot of people, young of course, know nothing about
    the subject and think everything of the past was awful
    and tenebrous under the dictator.

    Three years ago my treatment cost more than 32.000 euros
    I had to pay nothing for it.
    New treatments costs 45.000 euros and also are for free
    to the persons who need them.
    What about USA?
    Yes, I know perfectly well what happens over there.

    Obama wanted to do something about sanity social security but
    in fact he did just a little thing, because he could not.
    Now the new president wants to take it off…………?
    and so forth………..

    When I was a baby, medicines were for free absolutely.
    Now people has to pay just an insignificant amout of
    money, even so they are not in agreement, and call
    it co-payment.

    What is going to happen in future, here and
    EE.UU?., clearly the new USA president wants to
    cancel Obama´s law, we could wait and see.

    That´s all my dear, hundred of thousand of
    Latino immigrates here do not want to return
    to their countries first of all for the medical
    security system, but even people from
    other countries of Europe, England,
    Italy, or other like Denmark (my daughter is
    living there and comes frequently here for that
    reason) thinks the same living in Spain.

    So yes, here there are somethings good
    despite my critics to the system and politics.


  21. Dan says:

    Hey Emi

    Please, let me add my two cents to your last comment.

    First our system it’s not “free”. We pay a lot of taxes in order to keep our kind of health care system.

    Second it’s not perfect and open to abuses. And I ‘ll give you one example.
    During this last year I had to wait 4 months to see a orthopedic and 1 month to see a physiotherapist.
    If you know the right people you can skip the line and go ahead. And that is an abuse.

    I know of Canadians that when it comes of life threatening medical conditions, cross the border in order to avoid
    long waiting periods in their own country. That because they have a system similar to ours.

    Critics of Obamcare say that, because of it, premiums are going up.
    Of course, at different rates in different states.

    That’s it. Hope to have contributed without saying anything incorrect.

    Thanks and stay healthy and happy. High energy.

  22. Dan says:


    Me again just to thank all the veteran for their service. #veteran day.


  23. emiliano says:

    Thanks Dan, nice reading you again and of course nothing is perfect so you are
    right when talking about having to wait (it depends also of the urgency my sister for instance
    have to wait nothing without knowing any one), even me had to wait no time when I need the
    Nothing is free too as everybody who is working maintain the system with their taxes, it
    is the only way to have social security, free schools, to pay my pension as a retired
    worked and so forth.
    After saying that, I don´t change the medical social security for none after talking with
    lot of people.
    When I was at the bank, working, hundred of people all over the world were attended
    by me, usually in English or Spanish, and have the opportunity of talking with them
    nearly about everything and of course about their countries, so yes I know something about
    the subject or other different aspects of citizens life.
    Some of the people that came frequently to Madrid and talk with me were born in EE.UU., even
    I was exchanging letter with some of them who wanted to learn Spanish, I wanted to learn more
    English and we have good agreement.
    Could remember a couple of Australians, they were teachers living in the north and I had also a good
    relationship with an American couple, teachers too, for some years.
    They wee living in Chicago and wanted to learn Spanish to go to California increasing their salary
    knowing Spanish.

    Along a month, more or less, before meeting Cuca I have a nice relationship with an incredible
    beautiful girl born in Detroit, she know nothing of Spanish so we have to talk in English, incredible
    good time with her who went afterward to Germany.

    Living in a big city like Madrid, with more than 8 millions tourist this year, we have the opportunity
    of exchanging talks and ideas with people coming from other countries.
    I am a very curious person and to me it is very easy to start a conversation with people I have
    not ever seen, that´s the good point.
    Last July I had a nice long talk with three students girls from Miami, we laughed and spent a nice
    good time talking in a cafeteria of the old Madrid, Madrid de los Austrias, as we call that old part
    of the city.

    I like debates with you my dear Dan, lack you a lot, I hope seeing you soon.


  24. emiliano says:

    Finally I have been listening to Jeff and Lucy for years and years, nearly all the English Cafe that I love
    and enjoy so much.
    Listening to Jeff speech you may learn a lot about “how is life in EE.UU.” as he is the best teacher in
    all ways.
    Not to talk about the incredible good friend shipment I have with Him.

    So yes Dan, I just know a little about how life could be in USA, its Government, Institutions, Medical
    Care, an so forth.

    Thank you Jeff and thank you Lucy you are great.


  25. Peter says:

    I can’t wrap my head around it.
    Too complicated
    It is not done yet
    The parliament thingy may depose the president elect. I m crossing my fingers.

    I think, The reason why the forefathers made the US presential election such an arduous process is to protect it from any abuse. I mean , could the general election be rigged? I don’t think so
    Because from where I m sitting the Lengthy process has too many moving parts to begin with.

    So , warren
    Are u saying still there are hopes to save the day that some still can see the light at the end of the tunnel? I don’t know about u but it is pitch dark to me warren. Pitch dark !!!!

    Do u think the member of senate have it in themselves to salvage the US ? To be brutaly honest , I wouldn’t bet on it.
    Tell me warren
    Is it safe to say that the US as we know is a thing of past ?

    Talk to me warren
    The election result scared me, man


    An eslpod premium member

    P.S. Thanks waren for the informative post

  26. emiliano says:

    Sorry, I forget to mention the course that ESL has with the name of:

    “Introduction to the United States”

    I have it, so listening and reading the PDF files
    you also has a good, very good idea of how is
    life and institutions in EE.UU.

    So, go ahead and buy it from the ESL Store.
    It is cheap, not expensive and you may improve
    your English and your knowledge just a lot.

    Thanks Jeff thanks Lucy. emiliano

  27. Warren Ediger says:

    For Peter, and others with his question: There’s a great article in the LA Times that helps answer your question. Doyle McManus is a constitutional attorney and writer. He recently spoke to his 2nd-grade daughter’s class about the election (they were worried about Trump becoming president). It’s called “The founders anticipated Trump. We can handle this.” You can google it.

    Two important points: One, we don’t know yet what kind of president Mr. Trump will be. We’ll have to wait and see. Two, if he turns out to be a bad president, our constitution and system of law help protest us. That’s what Mr. McManus explains to the 2nd graders.

    And, finally, again: there is a lot of wrong information going around about many things related to our election. Be sure you understand and have the facts before coming to any conclusions. And if you’re not 100% sure, ask questions.

  28. emiliano says:

    Peter, just a word.
    The problem is not Mr. Trump
    To me the question and the problem is that 60.071 millions of persons voted to him
    (Hillary obtain 60.467 millions of votes)

    That´s the real matter to think about, not Mr. Trump himself.
    ¿Why so many Americans voted to him?
    ¿Which is the reason?
    ¿Our ethic is going down so low?

    Yes, something to think about.
    To me more or less the real subject it is clear, but I am not going to talk about it because it could be
    no agreeable for the persons who voted the man or even other.

    I appreciate highly my time to talk about the new elected president
    and which are the reasons to obtain 60 millions of Americans votes.

    Don´t be anxious Peter and read the article mentioned by our teacher Warren, reading it
    could be clear for you what is happening now round the world, not only in EE.UU., other
    countries in Europe are turning to the extreme right also.
    (Brexit is another clear example) and what is happening in the North of Europe, East or
    even in Spain, France or Germany.
    Jean Marie Le Penn was happy with Mr Trump election ??????
    also Putin and other, so? I would like to ask Berlusconi, for instance.

    Is going the world to the third and definitive world´s war?
    Who knows?

    My best dear Peter and don´t worry, take it easy
    as at the end we all will be dead.


  29. For anyone still interested in this topic, here’s a different, important way to think about the Electoral College.

    If you look at a map of the U.S., you’ll see that there are 3,000 counties (states are divided into counties). 50% of the population lives in the largest 174 counties. Please google “Half of the United States Lives in These Counties” to see a very good map.

    Most of the people who voted for Donald Trump this year were from the smaller counties. He was elected by people who often feel like people in the big cities don’t care about their situation. These are the people who elected Mr. Trump, thanks to the Electoral College; it gave them a “voice” they wouldn’t usually have.

    Hope the extra comments have been helpful!

  30. Dan says:

    Hi guys

    Thank you Warren. That’s helps. Very interesting piece of information.
    Looking at that map is “startling”.

    I agree that there are a lot of false, wrong information out there.
    In fact more than ever, this election cycle showed us the state of mainstream media in the US…do not worry, same situation here in Europe as well. They are lying a lot and if not lying, just giving half truths.

    I do not particularly like Trump, but the smear campaign on him was shameful and part of the rioting we are seeing today is due to brainwashing and dishonesty of journalists or so called political pundits/commentators.

    Anyway, there is an interesting article on the subject. Google “American journalism is collapsing before our eyes”.

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