Minnetonka High School's Student News

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Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

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Do You Really Know How Elections Work?

Art+by+Sophia+Zhang
Art by Sophia Zhang

10-10-50
5-5-50
270
All of these numbers can be associated with elections but what do they really mean? Elections are at the root of the United States democracy but many Americans don’t know much about them. Just like everything else, it’s important to know how things work and elections are no different.

David Shultz is a distinguished university professor at Hamline University in St. Paul, with specialized studies in political science and legal studies. When asked about the opinions that elections can be “stolen” he said, “It is important that we know what level of government can do what and also to have faith in the integrity of our electoral process. Lack of knowledge often means a lack of trust or faith in the electoral system.”

This distrust is just what is happening during election seasons, now more than ever. After the 2020 election many people thought that the election was “stolen” and “rigged.”

The American electoral process is complicated and different from other countries’ democracies. With presidential elections,  every American vote otherwise known as the “popular vote” is not the true deciding factor in who will become president. Rather, the electoral college that is based on states’ populations is the deciding factor.

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In order to win the election, the candidate needs to receive 270 electoral votes. That’s where the numbers 10- 10-50 and 5-5-50 come into play. 10 districts in 10 states out of the entire 50 states can ultimately decide the entire election through their electoral votes. Similarly with the number of districts and states being 5 that are the deciding votes. The misconception that the popular vote is the deciding factor is often what leads people to believe that the election is “stolen.” Just because the candidate wins the popular vote, does not mean they win the election.

However, this doesn’t take away from the importance of your vote. Your vote could be the deciding factor of your district.

Online reports often spread lies about miscounted votes and former president Donald Trump calling the 2020 election “stolen” (despite having no evidence), does not help in this pattern of misinformation.

The Public Policy VANTAGE Strand at Minnetonka learns about politics and elections. Lucas Brama ‘25, current Public Policy student said, “Public policy has taught me a lot about politics and partisanship in elections. We met with some members of Congress at the capitol and they talked about their own process in getting elected,” going further to say, “I would say that the largest impact of elections in the US is the legacy of democracy and freedom we have in this nation.”

VANTAGE is not the only way for Minnetonka students to gain knowledge about elections. Government websites and consult organizations such as League of Women Voters are trustworthy sources to get information. With how vast elections are and the growing importance of voter turnout, it’s important to realize how the entire process works.

Being knowledgable about elections is just as imporant as the vote itself. Dozens of articles online are misconsturuing how elections work which only aids to mistrust in our government. In order to have smooth elections people need to start educating themselves on how they actually work.

The 2024 election is a highly anticipated rematch beween incumbent Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump. No matter your political opinions, the way that elections work doesn’t change.

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