Election Day is tomorrow and, many polls show President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney running neck-and-neck nationally — but a decided, if slight, advantage for Obama in the electoral vote.
Each state gets a certain number of electoral votes, based upon its population. In order to win the presidency, either Obama or Romney must win at least 270 of the 538 total electoral votes.
The system has the effect of making your vote count a lot more in "swing states" — states where the majority could conceiveably vote for either candidate — than in other, more politically predictable states. The reason you're seeing Vice President Joe Biden, Romney and others frequent the Sunshine State so much because it could easily come down to Florida, Florida, Florida and those precious 29 electoral votes—two more than it had in 2008. Of course, that's over simplifying this.
See, there's more math involved.
Thanks to the various combinations to get to 270, it could be a state like Colorado with its nine electoral votes that could keep America up all night, NBC's Chuck Todd reports.
And that leads to a bit of a conundrum. The national race is very tight, with many polls showing Romney with a slight lead. Most polls in Ohio and other swing states like Wisconsin, however, show an advantage for Obama. It's entirely possible that Obama could win the electoral vote -- and thus a second term -- while losing the popular vote.
It's happened before. In 1876, Rutheford B. Hayes won the presidency by a single electoral vote, but lost the popular vote to Samuel Tilden by a margin of 250,000, according to FactCheck.org. In 1880, Benjamin Harrison won the electoral vote while losing the popular vote to Grover Cleveland. And perhaps most famously, George W. Bush won an electoral victory in 2000 while losing the popular vote -- barely -- to Al Gore. Oh, Florida.
Here's the real kicker though: An electoral tie is possible, which would have the Republican House of Representatives choose the president and the Democratic-controlled Senate choosing the vice president, potentially leading America to a Romney-Biden White House.
Obviously, it's not an ideal situation. Which raises the question: Should the Electoral College be abolished? Is it time we elect our president by direct, popular vote? Or should we stick with the system we know?
Tell us what you think in the comments below.