How does the U.S electoral system work? The president is elected every 4 years and can govern for a max of 8. The day of the election, people vote for who they’d want to be the president, but in reality, it’s an indirect vote. People are really electing the members of the Electoral College.
What is the Electoral College?
- The College is formed by 538 members/electors who will vote to elect the President. This makes 538 votes in total. This means the candidate needs 270 votes to win the majority and become president.
- Each state has different number of electors depending on its population size. For instance…Alaska with 740K people has 3 electors and California with 40M people, 55.
- What do electors do? They vote to elect the President.
This is how it works. If on election day, the majority of the people in California vote for Trump, California’s 55 electors will also vote for Trump. Then, Trump gets 55 votes and Clinton 0 votes. That is why it’s called ‘the winner takes it all system’: the person who becomes president is not necessarily the most voted by the people. I’ll clarify…the Californians’ votes for Hilary Clinton would not be taken into account because she did not win the majority of the votes there.
*In the states of Maine and Nebraska they use a proportional system.