How the Electoral College Uses Your Vote


Sarah Eastland, Senior Staff Photographer

Everyone knows the phrase “270 to win”, but what does it actually mean? What does it entail for this election?

The electoral college is for many voters an after thought, but in reality it is the electoral college that truly chooses the president. By definition it a group of people that represent the populous of The United States and formally vote on our behalf to elect the president and vice president. In total there are 538 electors- comprised of 435 House Representatives, 100 senators, and the 3 electors gifted to D.C- but a candidate only needs to win over 270, or the majority of electors, in order to win a seat in the White House.  

In most states electorates vote on behalf of what Americans choose at the polls but that is not the case in Maine and Nebraska, where majority candidates are only required to receive 2 electoral votes. This being said, only 24 states actually have laws which require electorates to vote with the majority meaning, hypothetically, a president could be elected that the people in the U.S didn’t actually vote for.

This hypothetical is what some electorates are calling for in light of recent reveals by the media, specifically some more racy comments by Republican candidate Donald Trump. An elector from Virginia, Erich Reimer stated that “I now pray for the good of the country that either Trump steps down as the GOP nominee or that the Republican Party finds a way to utilize the Electors who will be given the opportunity to vote in the Electoral College”. The Founding Fathers created the electoral college as a way to stop thoughtless and impulsive political decisions by the masses, and to some Trump is a perfect example of this.

It is unlikely that the electoral college will choose this election to stray from their hard set rituals of voting with the choice of the masses, but if there is anything this election has proven- anything is possible.