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Lecture Hall


Did you ever wonder about why our Founding Fathers created the Electoral College? Or speculate about how the Electoral College works? Watch the video and continue reading to find out more!




Material From ProjectVoteSmart

The 12th Amendment to the United States Constitution outlines the process for electing the President of the United States. This indirect method of popular election is known as the Electoral College. While some state laws regarding this process differ, the general method for electing the president is listed below.

Before the November election, political parties in each state create lists of potential electors (generally active members of the party) who pledge to vote for the party's candidate in the Electoral College.

A state's number of electoral votes equals the number of the state's Congressional delegation [the number of U.S. Senators (always 2) PLUS the number of U.S. Representatives.] The District of Columbia receives three electoral votes, as determined by the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution. See Electoral College Votes per State for your state's number of electoral votes.

Voters cast their ballots for a block of electors who, in turn, will vote for a certain presidential candidate. The winner of the popular vote in each state receives the state's entire number* of Electoral College votes.

For example, if a Democratic presidential candidate receives the most votes in Texas, the 34 Democratic electors become the voting block representing the Lone Star state. Therefore, the Democratic presidential candidate receives 34 of the 538 total votes in the Electoral College. The winner of the 2012 Presidential Election is the candidate who collects 270 votes, the majority.

Each state's block of electors (members of the winning candidate's party) assembles in their respective state capitol on Dec. 17, 2012. At this meeting, the electors sign the 'Certificate of Vote,' which is sealed and delivered to the Office of the President of the United States Senate.

A special joint session of the U.S. Congress convenes on January 6, 2013. At this meeting, the President of the Senate reads the Certificates of Votes and declares the official winner.

* The exceptions are Maine and Nebraska, where a proportional method for allocating votes is used.

List Of States And Votes
  • Alabama 9
  • Alaska 3
  • Arizona 10
  • Arkansas 6
  • California 55
  • Colorado 9
  • Connecticut 7
  • Delaware 3
  • District of Columbia 3
  • Florida 27
  • Georgia 15
  • Hawaii 4
  • Idaho 4
  • Illinois 21
  • Indiana 11
  • Iowa 7
  • Kansas 6
  • Kentucky 8
  • Louisiana 9
  • Maine 4
  • Maryland 10
  • Massachusetts 12
  • Michigan 17
  • Minnesota 10
  • Mississippi 6
  • Missouri 11
  • Montana 3
  • Nebraska 5
  • Nevada 5
  • New Hampshire 4
  • New Jersey 15
  • New Mexico 5
  • New York 31
  • North Carolina 15
  • North Dakota 3
  • Ohio 20
  • Oklahoma 7
  • Oregon 7
  • Pennsylvania 21
  • Rhode Island 4
  • South Carolina 8
  • South Dakota 3
  • Tennessee 11
  • Texas 34
  • Utah 5
  • Vermont 3
  • Virginia 13
  • Washington 11
  • West Virginia 5
  • Wisconsin 10
  • Wyoming 3

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