Electoral College


This is the institution that elects the president and vice president of the United States every four years. Each state is given a different amount of electoral votes based on the number of members of Congress to which each state is entitled. There are currently a total of 538 electors. The candidate that receives an absolute majority (270 votes) is elected to office. Dating back to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the Virginia Plan was the basis for this method of electing a president and vice president. Although this process at times seems confusing, it has served our nation for years!

Most states are under an “all or nothing” system. This means that whichever candidate wins the popular vote receives all of that state’s electors.

Only Maine and Nebraska split up electors between candidates.


After voting, citizens stay up late into the night to see which candidate reaches 270 votes first. We often call this waiting period the “Race to 270.”

If there is a tie in the Electoral College, the vote goes to the House of Representatives!