President-elect Donald Trump is expected to win 306 electoral votes in making his presidency official, but how does the system actually work?
When you cast your ballot on Election Day, you don’t directly vote for who you want as president. Instead, you really vote for electors who represent the political party of your candidate.
“The technical electoral college votes are cast by a slate of electors that a candidate and their party select beforehand, so you are voting for the president, but technically, the way the votes are going to be cast to the individuals are on that slate of electors,” Mansfield University Associate Professor of Political Science Jeff Bosworth said.
It’s compromised of 435 U.S. House of Representatives, 100 senators (two from each state), and three electors from Washington D.C. which total 538 people.
Each state’s number of electors is equal to its number of U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives.
For example, New York has 29 electors composed of two senators and 27 U.S. Representatives.
If a presidential candidate wins the majority of votes in that state, he or she wins all of the electors. It’s a winner-take-all system. This takes place in all but two states: Nebraska and Maine. These states use an alternative method called the Congressional District Method.
Trump won the popular vote in Texas, so he won 38 electoral votes. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in New York, so she won 29 votes.
The New York Times says that electors can be state party leaders or elected officials. They can even have a personal connection to a presidential candidate. For example, Bill Clinton is a New York elector this year.