Another presidential election has come and gone and in January, Donald Trump will take office as the 45th president of the U.S. The electoral college is an important part of the election process in the United States and I thought I might take some time today to explain how the popular vote and electoral college work, for those of you who don’t know.
So in each state, on election day, if not before, citizens vote on who they want in office. Those votes are totaled up and the candidates with the most votes win the popular vote.
While the popular vote may demonstrate which candidate is more desired, the electoral college is what actually determines who the next president will be. In order for a candidate to win the presidential race, they have to win a majority vote of the electoral college which is 270 votes.
Based off of the popular vote, the electoral college then gives the electoral votes of their state to the candidate who won the popular vote. For example, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in Colorado, and so the electoral voters of Colorado gave the eight electoral votes to Hillary Clinton. And for another example, Donald Trump won the popular vote in Alabama, so he was given the nine electoral votes from that state.
The amount of electoral votes is based off of state population, so the more people in a state, the more electoral college votes they get. For instance, California has 55 electoral votes, because so many people live there, and Wyoming only has three electoral votes because the population is small.
Below is a short video on how the electoral college works to clarify it.