US Embassy holds election watch party
November 11, 2016

US Embassy holds election watch party

Business tycoon Donald Trump was elected as the 45th president of the United States early Wednesday morning.

And, while the election results were being announced, the Embassy of the United States held a viewing party at the Beachcombers Hotel on Tuesday night for persons from various government agencies, teachers and the media.{{more}}

Host of the night’s proceedings, Drew Blakeny, director of international narcotics and law enforcement affairs, told SEARCHLIGHT that the United States Embassy in Bridgetown usually holds these election night parties in all seven of the islands where they are accredited.

“This is one of seven and I’m delighted to be here with friends in St Vincent … so we’ve got people from government, educators, from the business sector and from churches. So a wide variety of folks … are joining us tonight with one shared commitment and that is their love of democracy,” Blakeny said.

Speaking at the event, a consular officer explained that the United States does not have a proportional system where the party with the most votes wins the elections; the US president is decided on by a system called the Electoral College.

“The proportions are determined by the number of the representatives in the house, which is determined by the census. So, it is based on population. Each state gets the census every 10 years, so we can determine what per cent of the population [is in different parts of] the country and based on that, 538 electoral votes are divided up among the many states and the District of Columbia and so the candidate that wins the majority in each of those states gets those states’ electoral votes… It takes 270 electoral votes to be declared the official winner of the presidential race,” he explained.

While the system has been the centre of controversy for many years, he explained that this system, which has been around for 200 years, does give representation to each state, based on population and even small states can have an impact on the results of the election.

“If it was simply based on the popular vote, big cities, big states would get most of the attention. But under the Electoral College, smaller states can get more attention; you have more of a voice in the process, which was the intention in creating this… Each state would get representation, but no state would be able to dominate all the others with its large population,” he pointed out. (CM)