If you’re still wondering what exactly the US Electoral College is, then let me pen this down to help you understand.
An Electoral College (EC) is the group of people that elect the United States President and Vice President. When Americans go to the polls, they’re not directly voting for the candidates, but for ‘electors’.
In 1787 the Founding Fathers of America created it as an alternative to the popular vote. In part to ensure smaller states had a say, but also to appease southern slaveholding states who wanted their population size to be reflected, even though many of those people (slaves) couldn’t vote.
To reflect its population size, the number of Electoral College votes a state has is equal to the number of seats it has in the US Congress (the House of Representatives and the Senate). So a minimum of three and a maximum of 55.
There are 538 electors in the Electoral College, so a candidate needs to win 270 electoral votes (half of the electoral college votes plus one), to reach the White House. It’s why the election is sometimes referred to as the “Race to 270”.
Therefore, when voters in each state go to the polls, they’re selecting their presidential electors. The names of electors are not on the ballot in most states.
Rather, when a voter casts a vote for a presidential candidate, he or she is also casting a vote for the electors already selected by the party of that candidate. If a majority of voters in a state vote for the Republican candidate for president, the Republican slate of electors is elected” or vice versa.
If a candidate wins the popular vote they are awarded all of the state’s Electoral College votes. This is the case in all but two states and it’s why swing states are so important: they may only be won by a small percentage, but the winner takes all.
This year 2020 swing states include; Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina.
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