The Electoral College:
The Good The Bad, and the Ugly. You Decide!
The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives (based on population determined by the Census) plus two for your Senators (every state has two).
Choosing each state's Electors is a two-part process. First, the political parties in each state choose slates of potential Electors sometime before the general election. Second, on Election Day, the voters in each state select their state's Electors by casting their ballots for President.
Political parties often choose Electors for the slate to recognize their service and dedication to that political party. Electors generally hold a leadership position in their party or were chosen to recognize years of loyal service to the party. They may be state elected officials, state party leaders, or people in the state who have a personal or political affiliation with their party's Presidential candidate. For specific information about how slates of potential Electors are chosen, contact the political parties in each state.
The second part of the process happens on Election Day. When the voters in each state cast votes for the Presidential candidate of their choice, they are voting to select their state's Electors.
There is no constitutional provision or federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their states. Some states, however, require Electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories—Electors bound by state law and those bound by pledges to political parties. Today, it is rare for Electors to disregard the popular vote by casting their electoral vote for someone other than their party's candidate. Throughout our history as a nation, more than 99 percent of Electors have voted as pledged.
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