What is the Electoral College?

Candidates must reach 270 electoral votes.

(Joe Hall/Flickr Commons/CC BY 2.0)
(Joe Hall/Flickr Commons/CC BY 2.0)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Voters Tuesday may assume their vote goes directly to a presidential candidate, but that’s not actually the case.

Every state has electors– men and women who support each candidate and usually represent the state’s popular vote on Election Day.

All but two states, Maine and Nebraska, have a winner-take-all electoral basis. This means that in these 48 states, whichever candidate wins the popular vote, gets all of the state’s electoral votes.

The candidate who wins the popular vote in each state will then send his or her electors to the state’s capitol, where they officially record the votes. A presidential candidate must win at least 270 electoral votes to declare victory. Massachusetts has 11 elector votes.

There is no federal law that requires electors to vote a certain way, and they have voted against the popular vote in the past. In 2000 for example, Republican George W. Bush won the national election with a majority of the elector votes, but Democrat Al Gore actually won the popular vote.

The Electoral College has been around since 1778 and is meant to ensure the representation of smaller states.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s