How it works, its role in 2020 Trump-Biden election


Although People select most of their elected officers by widespread vote, the collection of a U.S. president isn’t as direct.

The presidency is determined by vote of the Electoral Faculty, a brief slate of 538 electors, all chosen by their state political events. Every elector casts one vote; a presidential candidate wants 270 of those votes to win.


The method has confronted mounting criticism, beginning within the controversial 2000 presidential election, by which Republican George W. Bush defeated Democrat Al Gore, regardless of having misplaced the favored vote.

President Donald Trump additionally misplaced the favored vote whereas successful the Electoral Faculty to defeat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Now that Joe Biden has gained Pennsylvania, and the Presidency, all eyes are on the Electoral Faculty. That is the way it works, and the way it will come into play within the 2020 race:

Variety of Electoral Faculty votes by state

Variety of electors varies by state

The variety of electors are based mostly on a state’s congressional illustration. For instance – 

Political events select the electors, who pledge to vote for his or her get together’s candidate. Members of Congress and high-level federal staff are barred from being electors.

Breakdown of the Electoral Faculty

Nov. 3: Election Day

The general public casts ballots for presidential and vice presidential candidates. Although most ballots have solely candidate names, voters truly select teams of electors.

The candidate with probably the most total widespread votes will get all of the electors. The exception: Maine and Nebraska, which might cut up electors amongst candidates.

Dec. 14: Electors solid ballots

Electors meet of their respective state capitals and vote. The outcomes are sealed and despatched to the president of the U.S. Senate – presently Vice President Mike Pence.

Jan. 3, 2021: New Congress is seated

Newly elected and present members of Congress are formally seated.

Jan. 6: Electoral votes are counted

Members of the Home and Senate meet collectively for a proper rely of electoral votes. The candidate with 270 votes is said the winner.

Jan. 20: Inauguration Day

The successful presidential and vice presidential candidates take the oath of workplace.

The Electoral Faculty has critics…

In recent times, the Nationwide Fashionable Vote motion has sought to interchange the Electoral Faculty, preferring the favored vote to decide on presidents.

Detractors say the system has grow to be extra flawed as a result of candidates can win the favored vote however nonetheless lose within the Electoral Faculty.

This has occurred 5 instances in American historical past, most lately in Bush vs. Gore in 2000 and Trump vs. Clinton in 2016. It may occur once more this 12 months.

Critics declare it favors small-population states over bigger ones and forces presidential campaigns to focus too closely on battleground states or states which are potential wins for both get together.

A Gallup ballot in September confirmed 61% of American favored eliminating the Electoral Faculty.

…and supporters

The Electoral Faculty as we all know it has been a part of American politics since 1804. Supporters say it is important.

“The Electoral Faculty was designed by the framers intentionally, like the remainder of the Structure, to counteract the worst human impulses and defend the nation from the risks inherent in democracy,” famous Nationwide Affairs in its fall 2020 version. 

Battleground states in 2020

Do electors should vote for his or her get together’s candidate?

They’re anticipated to, however generally don’t. “Faithless” electors have damaged rank and voted for somebody aside from their candidate. says 90 electors have solid “deviant” votes previously 58 presidential elections. None affected the result.

Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have legal guidelines that mandate electors vote in accordance with the favored vote. The Supreme Court docket dominated July 6 that states can punish faithless electors who go rogue.

What occurs if there’s a tie?

It’s potential, however extraordinarily unlikely, that the Electoral Faculty may impasse 269-269. In that case, the newly elected Home would vote on who turns into president. Every state will get one vote; 26 votes are wanted to win. The Senate would determine who turns into vp.

SOURCE USA TODAY reporting and analysis;; historical;; Nationwide Convention of State Legislatures; Related Press; Reuters