8 Things You Need To Know About The US Electoral College
By Joseph F. Nacino
Though the US national elections are over, Republican Party candidate Donald Trump must wait a while before the country can actually name him as its next president.
This is because the US election system involves the use of both a popular vote and an Electoral College. So what is an Electoral College? Here’s a quick guide to this US electoral system:
1. The Electoral College is a process, not a place
Instead of just relying on a popular vote (i.e. one person equals one vote), the US electoral system uses a process wherein the Electoral College does the actual voting of the US president. This body of voters—called Electors—are called up only during this time to make the selection.
2. Anyone can be an Elector except for government officials
According to the US Constitution, anyone can be chosen as an Elector—except for senators, representatives (our version of a congressman), or “Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States.” These Electors are selected by the political parties who have a candidate running in the elections.
3. Each candidate has his or her own group of Electors
Prior to the election, each political party chooses their own slate of potential Electors per state, usually based on their dedication and loyalty to the political party. In a sense, the individual voter is actually voting for this slate of Electors, who will then vote for the party candidate.
4. Electors per state depend on the number of elected officials per state
The Electoral College requires 538 electors, and a candidate needs a majority of 270 electoral votes to win. Each state gets a certain number of electoral votes, which depends on the number of the state’s congressional delegation, i.e. one for each representative, two for each senator.
Despite this being the constitutional system in the US, questions have been raised against the Electoral College whenever a presidential candidate gets more popular votes than electoral votes. For example, during the recent election, Trump had more electoral votes but his rival—Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton—is set to gain the popular vote by almost two million votes.