How Does the Electoral College Work?

And Why Don’t We Get Rid of It?

Legally, the Electoral College chooses our president, but our votes DO control that result. And until we can remove the marketing geeks from the election process, we do still need the Electoral College.

As usual on election night, news reporters announced each state’s vote totals as the polls closed and kept a running tally of electoral votes. Incumbent President Barack Obama won re-election by 4,602,212 popular votes and earned 332 Electoral College votes. Former Gov. Mitt Romney won 206 electoral votes. Other candidates won 2,227,841 popular and zero electoral votes. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the election. But what’s the point of having the Electoral College?

Our founders were afraid to permit the uninformed and uneducated public to elect the president and vice president, but didn’t want to give that much power to Congress. The Electoral College was their compromise. The constitution allots each state the same number of electors as it has members of Congress – both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. There are 435 House of Representatives members and 100 senators. The 23rd amendment allots three electors to the District of Columbia, just as though it was a state, so there are 538 total electors.

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