Social Studies - 2018-19

CE.5f - Electoral College

The student will apply social science skills to understand the political process at the local, state, and national levels of government by

f) describing the role of the Electoral College in the election of the president and vice president.

Adopted: 2015



The Electoral College process is used to select the president and vice president of the United States.


The Electoral College casts the official vote for president and vice president.

The number of electors of each state is based on each state’s congressional representation (the number of United States senators plus the number of representatives in the House).

Electoral College process

 Each political party chooses its slate of electors.

 After the popular vote, the electors cast their official votes.

 Most states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all electors to the winning presidential candidate.

 Candidates need 270 electoral votes to win, which favors the two-party system.

The winner-take-all system leads to the targeting of densely populated states for campaigning, although candidates must pay attention to less populated states and swing states whose electoral votes may make the difference in tight elections.

In most states, the party that wins the popular vote has its slate of electors cast the official vote for the president.


Updated: May 16, 2018