The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your State has the same number of electors as it does Members in its Congressional delegation: one for each Member in the House of Representatives plus two Senators.
Currently, as in most states, California’s votes in the electoral college are distributed in a winner-take-all manner; whichever presidential candidate wins the state’s popular vote wins all 55 of the state’s electoral votes.
Electoral votes are allocated among the States based on the Census. Every State is allocated a number of votes equal to the number of senators and representatives in its U.S. Congressional delegation—two votes for its senators in the U.S. Senate plus a number of votes equal to the number of its Congressional districts.
As prescribed in the U.S. Constitution, American presidents are elected not directly by the people, but by the people’s electors. The Electoral College was created by the framers of the U.S. Constitution as an alternative to electing the president by popular vote or by Congress.
In the United States, a contingent election is the procedure used to elect the president or vice president in the event that no candidate for one or both of these offices wins an absolute majority of votes in the Electoral College. Senators, on the other hand, cast votes individually for vice president.
The Fifth Circuit’s ruling states that Texas’s winner-take-all system, a method that dates back to the first presidential election and that is used in all but two States today, does not burden any person’s right to vote and causes no harm on account of a voter’s political views.
Only two states, Nebraska and Maine, do not follow this winner-take-all method. In those states, electoral votes are proportionally allocated. Can a candidate win the electoral vote, but lose the popular vote?
Most states require that all electoral votes go to the candidate who receives the most votes in that state. After state election officials certify the popular vote of each state, the winning slate of electors meet in the state capital and cast two ballots—one for Vice President and one for President.
The candidate who receives the most votes in a state at the general election will be the candidate for whom the electors later cast their votes. The candidate who wins in a state is awarded all of that state’s Electoral College votes. Each state may cast one vote and an absolute majority is needed to win.
During the general election, Americans head to the polls to cast their vote for President. But the tally of those votes (the popular vote) does not determine the winner. Instead, Presidential elections use the Electoral College. To win the election, a candidate must receive a majority of electoral votes.
If no presidential candidate reaches the 270-vote threshold, the election for the president is decided by the House of Representatives in a run-off contingent election. Similarly, if no vice-presidential candidate reaches that threshold, the election for the vice president is decided by the Senate.