Maine and also Nebraska allocate 2 electoral votes to the statewide winner but enable each congressional ar to award one electoral poll to the renowned vote winner in their certain locality. Publicly domain via Wikimedia Commons

As a vitriolic presidential gyeongju shaped by the Covid-19 pandemic and also a growing divide in between liberal and also conservative american draws come a close, the election’s result looks significantly likely come come down to just a grasp of electoral votes.

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The vast majority of states award the totality of your electoral votes come the candidate that receives the most votes statewide—but two noteworthy exceptions exist: Maine and Nebraska, both the which split their electoral votes through what’s known as the “congressional ar method.”

Per the non-profit electoral reform organization FairVote, this system—used in Maine due to the fact that the 1972 election and in Nebraska since the 1992 race—allocates 2 electoral votes to the statewide winner but permits each congressional district to compensation one electoral vote to the well-known vote winner in their particular locality. In Maine, this way that 2 out of 4 electoral votes deserve to potentially go to someone other than the statewide winner; in Nebraska, three out of five electoral votes continue to be in play.

According to Savannah Behrmann of USA Today, Maine started splitting its electoral votes after ~ seceding native Massachusetts, which likewise used the method, in 1820. The state switched to the an ext commonly provided winner-take-all mechanism in 1828.

More 보다 a century later, in 1969, autonomous state representative glenn Starbird Jr. That Maine proposed a return to the larger split-vote method. Involved that Maine’s electoral votes could be awarded come a candidate that received simply 34 percent the the state’s famous vote (a potential outcome of three-way races favor the 1968 presidential election, i m sorry pitted Richard Nixon versus Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace), Starbird presented a bill the was ultimately unanimously pass by Maine’s Republican-controlled legislature.

As former representative man Martin called Central Maine’s Paul Mills in 2016, state legislators approved Starbird’s bill under “the assumption that other states would certainly follow suit.” But two decades passed before an additional state do the change, and also even then, the switch showed far an ext contentious 보다 it had actually in Maine.

My mam
RebeccaSittler, a Nebraska native, reminded me today of why NE splits its electoral votes. If Biden go not victory PA, NE's solitary electoral vote (from districts approximately Omaha) will be why he has actually 270. THIS lone blue dot. The factor is Ernie Chambers. Pic.twitter.com/z2YVfannpi

— Dr. Andrew R. Schrock (
aschrock) November 4, 2020

In the indigenous of the connected Press’ provide Schulte, Nebraska adopted the split-vote device in wishes of attracting “presidential candidates to a state they normally ignore since it’s so reliably conservative.” democratic representative DiAnna Schimek garnered support for the change by recall Republican legislators that then-presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy’s 11-city tourism of the state in 1968. (At the time, Kennedy to be campaigning against Senator Eugene McCarthy and also Vice President hobtration Humphrey in the state’s autonomous primary, which the ultimately lugged with 51 percent that the vote.)

“That was when Nebraska mattered,” Schimek said the AP last month.

Since implementing the congressional district an approach in 1992, Nebraska Republicans have repeatedly attempted come overturn the voting frame in favor of a winner-take-all system. Most recently, a 2016 bill dropped one vote short of securing the change, failing in huge part due to the initiatives of state senator Ernie Chambers, as Tom Batchelor notes because that Newsweek.

Based top top the votes tabulated for this reason far, an essential news institutions have called four the Nebraska’s 5 electoral votes for Republican chairman Donald Trump and three the Maine’s 4 for former democratic Vice president Joe Biden. V the race down to a razor-thin margin, reports Dionne Searcey for the New York Times, Biden’s lone Nebraska electoral vote—awarded by the state’s left-leaning second Congressional District, which includes much the the Omaha city area—could it is in the one that propels him to a win 270.

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Prior to the 2020 election, Nebraska and also Maine had actually only break-up their electoral votes once. In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama won Nebraska’s second Congressional District, earning the party’s an initial electoral vote in the state due to the fact that 1964. In 2016, Trump winner Maine’s 2nd Congressional district for the first time, noting the reliably democratic state’s an initial Republican electoral vote because 1988.

“In all likelihood, the race won’t it is in so close that a single electoral vote would decide the outcome,” Kyle Kondik, one analyst in ~ the university of Virginia facility for Politics, called the Omaha World-Herald’s Joseph Morton front of election day. “But it is necessary for the projects to contend everywhere it is competitive, and also NE-2 voters should think the themselves together living in ~ their own swing state.”

Meilan Solly | | READ an ext

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