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On November 7th, Americans went to the voting booths. Today, five weeks later, Americans still don't know who their next president is going to be. About a week after the election the TAK started receiving e-mail from American students voicing their opinions and from German students asking questions. Here are some of the e-mail messages.

Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 
From: Kaitlin K., Illinois 
Subject: [TAK] the American president

I feel that as an American citizen and being 15 and female making me very opinionated, I should voice my opinion about the whole president situation. 

Personally I think that the only reason this election has not yet been decided, is because the majority of American people really don't care because all the candidates are idiots. Most people voted for the person they thought was the lesser of stupidity. I personally think that Gore should be our president because I think he would do the best in office. He has been vice president for the past 8 years. That gives him some credit because he knows a lot of what goes on and he has experienced quite a few things upfront. I also believe in some of what he says, but like I said before I think he's the lesser of stupidity.

Bush on the other hand I think is a complete moron. From what I hear he plans on taking money out of social security and putting it in other peoples pockets. What kind of president would that be? He's also just like his father and honestly, his father was a terrible president. He didn't do anything. He got to sit in a big poofy chair saying haha I'm president now! They're both idiots.

Nader is an ok guy I'm not exactly sure what his beliefs are because he isn't a Democrat or Republican. Therefore we don't get to hear about them often, even sometimes at all. From what I hear, Nader is an environmentalist. I'm all for the environment. He's also pro-abortion. Which once again I'm all for. Being a women i think its important for women to have their choice. In certain situations, women honestly don't need an abortion. Most girls who are young and foolish get the abortion because they are too afraid to tell their parents, in that case I think it's probably best for them to just have the baby and give it up for adoption. Women who truly need abortion are the women who are either too young (12-17) or the women who were raped. That just makes more sense to me.

I could be wrong on some things because my sources aren't exactly wrong and I haven't been through an abortion. There are also a lot of other reasons I'm positive why women would or wouldn't get an abortion. I'm simply voicing my opinions on what i believe. Feel free to respond by saying whatever you want. At this point i'm all ears.


Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 
From: Matthew K., Illinois
Subject: [TAK] presidential election

... I think the main reason I like Bush better than Gore is because he is against abortion.  I think that is a very important topic in the presidential election because it can carry over to other topics of what they might be for or against.  Do the kids in Germany hear a lot about the elections in the U.S. ?

Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 
From: Krissi, Essen, Germany
Subject: Re: [TAK] presidential election /to Matthew

Hi Matthew!
Yes, we heard a lot about the elections in the USA. here in Germany. And many people were shocked about the things going on in America. 

We heard for example that they told black people, who would never vote for George W. Bush, that they don´t have voting papers for them and so on.
And here in Europe were over 90% for Al Gore. That has several reasons. For example the death penalty, which George W. Bush supports. We don´t have the death penalty here and most of the people are glad that we don´t have the death penalty. Most of the people here think, that Al Gore is really 
intelligent and competent and that George W. Bush just pretends to be competent.
Most of the people in Germany hoped that Al Gore would be the next president. But we will see who will be the president at the end. 

Date: Fri, 17 Nov 2000 
From: Peutinger Group, Augsburg, Germany
Subject: [TAK] US President

at school we speak a lot about the presidential elections in the USA. Can you explain your electoral system to us? We have some contradictory bits of
information. What about your expensive election campaigns? In Germany we have quite a different system. Our campaigns are not so expensive because we
don't vote for a person, but for a party rather. Why do you elect electors and not the president directly?
We would like to know more about what American students know and think about their own system.

KIA (Kathrin, Iris, Anja)

Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 
From: Andrew R., Illinois 
Subject: Re: [TAK] US President / to Peutinger Group

The process is simple. The general public votes in state at their designated time, and the votes are counted and turned in. After turning them in, on Dec. 12 or close to that, the state representitives take the votes of the people in their district and vote for the canidate that group of people voted for the most. Those votes are turned in and counted, called the electoral votes. Each state has a certain amount of representatives, depending on the population (the higher the population, the more representitves). If a state has 20 representatives, then it is worth 20 electoral votes. 

The winner of the state is the candidate with the most representatives voting for him. Even if the candidate wins by one vote in that state, he wins all the votes for that state. It's all or nothing. To win, a candidate needs 270 electoral votes. Even if more people vote for a candidate, the other can still win by electoral vote. For example, Al Gore could have 2,101,000 votes and Bush 2,050,000 form the popular vote. But if Bush barely wins some big states, he can win by electoral vote, which actually counts.

I hope that cleared some things up. Write me back if you have more questions.


Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2000 
From: John C., Columbia, Missouri
Subject: [TAK] US President / to Andrew

You have the right idea, but the facts are not quite correct.  I don't think the electoral college process is by any means simple.  Far simpler is a direct vote.

The number of presidential electors from each state is determined by the
total number of Representatives and Senators from that state.  Since there are 435 Representatives in Congress and 100 Senators, and since the District of Columbia is also allowed to vote in presidential elections,  the total number of Presidential Electors is 538.

Currently there are two ways in which electors may be designated for the
presidential candidates: winner-takes-all or proportional allocation.  There
are only two states which provide for proportional voting: Maine and
Nebraska.  This means that the electors are designated for candidates based
on the proportion of the vote each candidate received.  In winner-take-all
states, all the electors are designated for the candidate who received the
most votes.

Different states have different methods for certifying their electors, but they must be certified prior to the Meeting of the Electoral College (this is December 18th this election) at which time they cast their vote for one of the presidential candidates.  There is no stipulation, however, in the US Constitution that these Electors MUST vote for the candidate for whom
they were designated.

Once the Electoral College has met and voted, the results of that vote are
sent to the President of the US Senate by the December 27th deadline.  On
January 6, 2001, the votes are counted in a joint session of Congress and
the winner is determined at that time.

You can find much more information at the following site:


Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2000 
From: Peutinger Group, Augsburg, Germany
Subject: Re: [TAK] US President /Andrew

Dear Andrew,
as far as I know the number of electors does NOT depend exactly on the population. Each has got the number of representatives + 2. So if a state has 1
representative there will be 3 electors. A big state with 20 representatives ought to have 3x20 = 60 electors, but it has only 20+2 =22. Is that correct?

And what do you think about a state where 49% of the votes are just thrown away because the loser has 49%?
Peutinger Group 

Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 
From: Andrew R., Illinois
Subject: [TAK] US President /Peutinger Group

I do think the popular vote should actually count, and that is what most honest Americans would say. However, the Electoral College is one of those founding father traditions that won't go away for a while. But the more crazy elections we get like this, the more they'll want to get rid of the "old" way of doing things.

Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2000 13:34:16 -0500
From: Wil B., Findlay, Ohio
Subject: Re: [TAK] US President/Andrew

If popular vote was the only thing that counted then the people running would only need to go to five cities.  Do you really want them to only campaign to five cities? That's what will happen if we go to popular vote. With the Electoral College the whole nation counts equally.

Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 
From: "Jennifer S., USA
Subject:  [TAK] presidential election

This whole election has become an interesting subject. I was talking to some 
adults the other day and one said something to the extent of, "If this was 
my first year voting in an election, I'd be tempted not to vote again 
because of all that has gone on." Hm..I had to think about this. It WAS my 
first year to vote, but I will continue to do so *every vote counts! this 
campaign is PROOF!*. True, my first experience was/is quite different than 
normal - historical I'm sure! I know many people now who for the last few 
weeks have become very aggravated with the system and both Bush and Gore. In their minds no president was better than all this mess. ha. Frustration has 
set in; I'm wondering what this latest news will do to the outlook on the 
whole ordeal.

Just curious, are most people in Germany in favor of Gore? I have a few 
friends that live there, and they told me that. I'm not a huge political person, but I've sort of become mildly interested in this election. Perhaps it was because I went to see Gore when he was here on campus, and that triggered my interest in it all. I've read some articles about the election and the running, and it seems that Bush always has some "superior" comment to make. Not always very professional sounding. Like he's the best, he knows it, and shows it. I haven't noticed this of Gore though. What is your opinion?

That's all for now. I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving *those of 
you in the states that is!*


Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 
From: Peutinger Group, Augsburg, Germany
Subject: Re: [TAK] presidential election / to Jennifer

Dear Jennifer, can you really say that every vote counts?? 
Think of the many votes just thrown away because of your "first-past-the-post" system! And are not votes in smaller states stronger than votes in big ones (number of electors)?

Peutinger Group

Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2000 
From: Greg H., Ohio 
Subject: [TAK] To Peutinger Group

The American way as far as the smaller states having fewer electors is extremely reasonable. Do you think that a state with the population of California should have the same say as one as small as Rhode Island? NO! The problem is that people are to dumb to understand the ballots. (no I don't think all Americans are stupid) The problem this year is that it is close and the current vice president is a sore loser. He should just concede and let us move on, but he's all about himself. 

As far as the girl /Jennifer/ who said every vote counts...They do! It's so obvious, the ones that have been thrown out are the fault of the voter that did it. You have to punch the chad all the way out and you shoud ALWAYS read the ballot before voting and it seems to me like all these people went on an assumption, and no matter how you look at it, it's their own fault. In short: I believe this election is uncontestable, people messed up, this is too important of an issue to try and change the way it happened through courts. The problem with the world today is that we are always to quick to go to court, it's all about our rights. 

For once I think a person should show an ounce of integrity and admit that he has lost this election and realize that it is over. I wish that humans didn't exalt their rights so much, it's the main reason we are going to hell, it's because we ignore the one who makes us righteous, Jesus, and exalt our rights above him. Thanks,

From: Krissi, Essen, Germany
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2000 
Subject: [TAK] To Jennifer

Hi Jen!

You wanted know where I live in Germany. I live in Essen. That´s in 
Northrhein-Westfalia; one hour from Cologne. I´m in the 13th grade. 
I have also read your mail concerning the presidential election. Over 90% of 
the Germans would vote for Gore. And that has several simple reasons. Bush e.g. won´t work that close together with Europe like Gore would do it. And Europe needs the support of the USA. 

An other reason is the death penalty. We don´t have and don´t want the death 
penalty in Europe. So many people here don´t share Bush´s opinion. 
And there are many other things Bush has said with which the people here 
don´t agree.
Ok anyway I have to go. 

Last updated December 13, 2000