We do not directly elect our President

    We choose representatives who become the Electoral College
    This approach was written right into the Constitution: Article II Section I Clause 3
Current: There are 538 Electors

    This number equals the number of Senators and House Representatives

    100 Senators and 435 Representatives (plus 3 for DC)


A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the Presidency (since 1964)

    State’s electors equal number of Members in US Congress
    Each political party nominates Electors who

        who pledge to vote for the party’s candidate
        may not be Members of Congress or federal government employees

    Popular vote decides which nominees become Electors
    Electors meet in State capitals to vote
        Vice President
    Electors ALMOST always vote for the candidate to whom they pledged
    Joint session of Congress counts & confirms votes
    If no candidate gets 270 votes
    House of Representatives chooses Adams (1824)

Number of electors is proportional to the state’s population measured every 10 years


    Can give individual votes unequal weight
        CA population is 39M people - 55 electors. RI population is 1M - 4 electors         For equal clout, CA would have to have 156 electors - 3 times as many

    Works poorly when there is a very small margin of victory within individual state
    Tends to favor a two-party system
    Candidates who receive more popular votes can lose the election


It’s not a perfect system, but it’s the one we have right now