Having done a bit of a search, I already know that on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, voters of the US may cast a vote (using a system specific to their state), which, when tabulated, will (strongly) suggest who some electoral college electors should vote for president.

My question is, what voting systems are used for the "tabulation" in my description above?

This summary from www.usa.gov/election says the "voting system" can vary between states. I understand there can be more than two candidates and (in some states) you can even write in another candidate.

  • 1
    I'm guessing the answer is "First past the post".
    – Mark Hurd
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 14:27
  • I think Voting methods other than single-vote plurality in the USA? answers my question in the question.
    – Mark Hurd
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 14:42
  • 1
    It's slightly tangential, but in some states the same candidate can appear on the ballot more than once, as the nominee of different parties. This doesn't directly affect the selection of electors though.
    – origimbo
    Commented Oct 2, 2016 at 19:52

1 Answer 1


The typical state awards all its electors to the first-past-the-post statewide winner. Nebraska and Maine award two of their electors each to the first-past-the-post statewide winner and one elector to the first-past-the-post winner in each congressional district. New York awards its votes to the first-past-the-post statewide winner after fusing together all votes for a nominee under any ticket.

There is a movement for states to award their electors to the first-past-the-post winner countrywide. However, this is set not to trigger until 270 electoral votes worth of states adopt it and has no impact on the system until then.

All states use their own rules for ballot access. The net effect is to allow the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees on the ballot in every state while other candidates have to scrabble for signatures. Similarly, some candidates could register as write-in options.

As an example, in Florida in 2000, there were ten candidates for President on the ballot plus thirty-six write-in votes.

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