The Popular Vote vs. The Electoral College

By: CNN
By: CNN

Election day is two weeks away, and if you remember from your social studies classes, the people don't directly elect the next president. The electoral college ultimately decides the next president. Here's a look at how the system works.

Established by America's founding fathers, it's a process not a place.

It's even in the constitution.

Described as a compromise -- somewhere between a vote in Congress and a popular vote of the people.

Each state has a number of electors, based on how many members it has in Congress.

So a state with a lot of people, like California, has 55 electoral votes. A small state, like Delaware, has just three.

States award their electoral votes on the basis of the popular vote.

In most states it's winner take all, and it takes a majority 270 of the 538 total electoral votes to win the presidency.

After the November election, members of the electoral college meet to cast their ballots.

The results are sent on to Congress, which tallies the vote and then makes it official.

By the way, the candidate who wins the popular vote doesn't always win the election.

In the year 2000, more Americans voted for Vice President Al Gore, but George W. Bush had more electoral votes so he prevailed and won the presidency.

You can't win the White House without it - the electoral college.


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