How does voting in the US election work?

Image: Stephen Melkisethian

With the race for the White House being tight, it is crucial to understand how votes are counted.

In order to become president, one must reach 270 electoral votes.

But what is an electoral vote?

Each state has a certain amount of electoral votes depending on the population size of the state.

For example, California has 55 districts and therefore 55 electoral votes, while several smaller states only have 3 electoral votes.

These electoral votes as effectively the states’ voting power.

Say everyone in California votes (everyone meaning anyone who chooses to vote) and after being counted there is a 60% majority to the Democrats.

The Democrats will get all of California’s 55 electoral votes moving Clinton closer to her required 270.

But if Texas (38 electoral votes) and Tennessee (11 electoral votes) both vote a Republican majority, then Trump will get 49 electoral votes.

Almost every state works in this winner-takes-all system.

The only exceptions are Maine and Nebraska who dish their votes out proportionally.

In the event of a tie, the House of Representatives and the Senate vote for the President and Vice President.

Image: Prachatai.

Still Haven’t Quite Got it? 

TED-Ed has a video run-down of how the American President will be elected.


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