#USElection : Complexity of the American voting system

How is elected President of the United States
The majority of Americans voted Tuesday, November 6 to elect one who will lead the country for four years.
The complexity of this electoral process is difficult for me to understand.
Thanks to the advance polls which allows voters to send their ballot or slip in the ballot box without waiting for Nov. 6th, in some cases with the obligation to provide proof of absence, 17 million Americans have already voted before that day, U.S. President Barack Obama has voted, Thursday, Oct. 25, 12 days before the official date of the election. the others started going to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 6th. At least 120 million of them will vote, to provide a second term for Barack Obama, or to replace him by Mitt Romney. The policy to be conducted over the next four years in budgetary, fiscal, social, health and foreign policy would depends on their decision.

On Nov. 5th , Barack Obama concluded his campaign in Iowa (center of the United States) by dropping a tear. He said: « After everything we’ve been through, after everything for which we fought, we can not give change now »
These ballots will be counted on Nov. 6th in the evening, at the close of polls.
Each state and each county sets its own voting methods. Some use paper, others electronic machines. There is no harmonization at the country level and even within the same state, counties are responsible for organizing the vote.
If the incumbent president appears to have a small advantage, as voters can not decide between the two candidates until Nov. 6th and the campaign was completed by a frantic sprint, each candidate trying until the last minutes to gather his camp to rally undecided voters and convince independent . In total, the Republican campaign and the Democratic campaign reached peaks sumptuary: almost a billion each to finance this venture.
Things to say are that Barack Obama was the first black president of the United Statesa and if Mitt Romney succeeds him in the White House, he will be the first Mormon president of the US

The U.S has four time zones from east to west, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. The first polls offices open at 6:00 am local time (12:00 Paris Tuesday) in some East Coast states (Virginia, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire …). On the West Coast, California starts vote at 16:00, Paris time.

The election of the President is performed by indirect universal suffrage: Actually, Americans designate a group of electors on November 6th, as members of an « Electoral College. » This College has 538 members who elect the president and the vice president. The winners of the presidential will therefore be those who obtain an absolute majority of 270 votes.
Each state is represented by electors equal in number to the number of senators and elected officials who represent it in Congress. The District of Columbia, which includes the capital, Washington, has no representative to vote in Congress, but has three electoral votes.
California is the most populous state in the U.S. and has 55 electors. Texas has 38, Florida 29. Others states have at least three electoral votes.
In case of equal vote, the new House of Representatives, appointed the same day as the presidential election, choose the next president, which occurred in 1800 and 1824. In this case, the Senate chooses the Vice-President.

Be elected without a majority of votes possible
With this system, being elected president without obtaining an absolute majority of the population is possible. That was the case in 2000, and three times before in the history of the United States.
This anomaly is possible because in almost all United States except Maine and Nebraska that instill a dose-proportional the candidate who gets the most votes is represented by all the electors of that State in the College election. Thus, in California, it is sufficient for a candidate to get a single vote ahead of his opponent to garner 55 electors of a sudden. It is because of this system that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney favor the ten states on 50 key including Ohio, Florida, Iowa and Colorado, likely to move from one camp to another and thus decide the election.
December 17
The electors, mostly local elected officials, meet in the capital of each state to elect the president and vice president on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, this year December 17th.
Strangely, there is no requirement to respect the electoral popular vote. Some 700 amendments to amend or remove the Electoral College to establish a direct universal suffrage were submitted to Congress in vain over the last 200 years.
President-elect Barack Obama succeeds himself wherever Mitt Romney becomes the 45th leader of the United States, sworn in on 20 January.

Obama’s election speech, here