The race to 270 electoral votes and what that means

2016-mapThe Electoral College is composed of 538 electors who cast the votes to ultimately decide the President and Vice President of the United States. The 538 electors are derived from the 435 representatives in the House of Representatives, 100 senators, and three electors given to the District of Columbia. The popular votes indicated at the polls are suggestions to the electors for each state on which candidate the people wish to elect.

For a candidate to win the election, they are required to win at least 270 of the electoral votes. If neither candidate receives the needed electoral votes, then the decision is made by the House of Representatives. This has occurred once in 1824 when Andrew Jackson won both the popular vote and the majority of electoral votes. However, Jackson did not receive the needed amount of electoral votes and the House selected Quincy Adams for President.

California is the state with the most electors with a total of 55 votes. Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that use an alternate method for Electoral College votes. These two states divide themselves into districts and distribute one of its statewide votes to each district. The winner of the statewide vote is then given the state’s remaining two electoral votes.

Written by Abby Gentry, Asst. News Editor