What is the Electoral College?

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Kevin Hillmann

Kevin is back with another Politics with Kev. This time around he’s explaining the electoral college, how it works, and why it exists. The electoral college is the system by which the President of the United states is chosen. It consists of 538 electors representing all 50 states plus Washington D.C, these electors are distributed between the states based on how many people they have in congress, for example Massachusetts has 2 senators and 9 representatives so it gets 11 electors. This system leads to a few problems, it leaves open the possibility that the person with less votes can win the election, and the distribution of the electors is not proportional to the number of people a state has. For example, California has 40 million people and gets 55 electors while Wyoming has 500,000 people and gets 3, meaning that each elector from Wyoming represents less people than those of California, yet they have an equal amount of power. This leads to the votes of people in small states being worth more than those of people in large states. Now why does this system exist? Kevin explains that it has its origins in the constitutional convention, in which it was made as a compromise between the populous northern states and the southern states, who had large slave populations but relatively small voting populations.