The Electoral College

By: Erin S.

We vote every 4 years.  This year we voted against Barack Obama, Mitt Romney (also known as Mittens) and a 3rd party representative.  The Electoral College helps the voting be fair.  We use the Electoral College every time we vote.  

What is the Electoral College?

OK. Just in case you’re wondering the Electoral College is a process, not a place.  It is 538 electors that elect our president.  We don’t elect our electors for our state.  We determine our electors based on our amount of senators and our representatives. (Each state has 2 senators.)  For example, so Missouri has 2 senators and 8 representatives, they would have 10 electoral votes.  A state’s amount of representatives is based on the population, so a state with more people would get more electoral votes.  Even though Washington D.C. has no senators or representatives they have 3 electoral votes.

How does the Electoral College Work?

In most states the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote (the election an average American like you and me votes in) gets that states electoral votes.  The exception is Maine and Nebraska.  So if the democrats get most of the votes in Missouri then the democratic candidate would get all 10 of Missouri’s electoral votes.

  There are 538 electoral votes/electors.  To win, a candidate needs at least 270 of those votes.  If it works out that no candidate gets 270 electoral votes then the House of Representatives gets to ick the president and the senators get to pick the vice president.

Has Anyone Won the Popular Vote and Lost the Election?

Yes.  It has happened 4 times in U.S. history.  1 of those cases happened in 2000.  Al Gore won the popular vote by more than 500,000 votes but George W. Bush won the election because he got the more popular states to vote for him.  He won by 1 vote.  He got 271 electoral votes.


Some people think the Electoral College isn’t fair.  This is because the person who wins the popular vote doesn’t always win the election.  But I think the Electoral College is one of the only fair things about voting!  It helps run our nation and picking our president!