The U.S. Constitution grants the States the right to choose Presidential Electors in Article II Section I with the clause Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors ...
Over the years, states have employed a number of different methods for choosing Presidential Electors. The methods are grouped into two main categories: Popular Vote and Appointed. Some of these are listed below:
Popular Vote Methods
A slate of Electors is pledged to each Presidential/Vice-Presidential ticket (the Electors' names may or may not appear on the ballot). The slate of Electors pledged to the ticket having received the plurality of votes state-wide are chosen.
- Currently this is the most common method of choosing Presidential Electors.
Individual (Direct) Method
Individual Electors are pledged to each Presidential/Vice-Presidential ticket (only the Electors' names appear on the ballot). The top 'n' electors (where n is equal to the number of Electoral Votes for a given state), having received the most votes state-wide, are chosen.
- This method was the most common in the nineteenth and early twentieth century
- Vermont maintained this method through 1980.
- This method has resulted in split electors in many instances where the state-wide election was close
Two Electors At Large and one Electors for each Congressional District are pledged to each Presidential/Vice-Presidential ticket (the Electors' names may or may not appear on the ballot). The At-Large Electors pledged to the ticket having received the plurality of votes state-wide are chosen. The Elector pledged to the ticket having received the plurality of votes within each Congressional District is chosen.
- This method was used by Michigan in the 1892 Election, splitting electors Rep 9 to Dem 5
- Maine adopted this method in 1969 (first used in 1972), but has yet to split any electors
- Nebraska adopted this method in 1991 (first used in 1992). Electors have split once since - in 2008 with two Congressional Districts voting for John McCain and one voting for Barack Obama. The two at-large electors also wen to John McCain resulting in a 4-1 Electoral Vote split.