How the Electoral College Works | Social Studies

February 24, 2016 Jennifer Brandt

How the Electoral College Works | Social Studies

As we gear up for the 2016 Presidential Election in November, and as you continue to study the civics and government topics of the TASC Test Assessing Secondary Completion™ Social Studies subtest, let’s review an important component to the election process: the Electoral College.

What is the Electoral College? 

The Electoral College is the process used to elect the President of the United States. The Founding Fathers established this process when they wrote the U.S. Constitution. According to Archives.gov, the Electoral College was set up as a compromise between only electing the President by a vote in Congress and only electing the President by the popular vote of citizens.

History.com notes that when registered votes cast their ballot for a President and Vice President, they are actually voting for presidential electors. These presidential electors are known as the Electoral College. Presidential electors are chosen by the people to elect the President.

How does the Electoral College Work?

  • Each state has an assigned number of electors.
  • The number of electors a state has is equal to the state’s total number of delegates in the Senate and House of Representatives.
  • According to History.com, the number of electors per state ranges from three to 54, for a total of 538 electors in the Electoral College.

Archives.gov notes that each candidate running for President has his or her own group of electors in each state. Electors are typically chosen by the candidate’s political party, but state laws vary on how electors are selected.

Your vote counts! When you vote for a candidate to become President, you’re voting for your candidate’s electors.

We’re inching closer to Super Tuesday on March 1, 2016. Are you registered to vote in your state? Find all the information you need to participate in your state’s primary or caucus, and later in the general election, at Vote411.org

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