What is the electoral college and what happens if neither candidate hits 270?

How the electoral college works

So you've heard of the Electoral College -- but what is it really?

Simply put, the Electoral College is 538 people that cast the official votes for President.

Now you may be asking, why 538?

It's the number of people in Congress -- plus three more for Washington, D.C.

When you choose a candidate, you're really voting for electors to support that person at the Electoral College vote in December.

This happened because the founding fathers couldn't agree.

Some wanted the people to vote for president – others wanted Congress to choose.

In the end, we got the electoral college.

Each state gets a set number of electors – based on population.

The biggest state —California -- has 55 electoral votes while the smallest states -- like Wyoming-- get three.

It takes 270 votes to win out.

If nobody reaches that magic number — the next President will be picked by your favorite folks: CONGRESS!

Specifically, the House of Representatives picks from the top three candidates in the Electoral College.

Each state gets only one vote. That means California isn't more powerful than Wyoming -- they're the same.

If they still can't decide, the Vice President becomes President.

The VP is picked by the Senate if the electoral college deadlocks.

That is the electoral college in a nutshell.

(© 2016 KUSA)


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