The U.S. Constitution specifies that the President and Vice president of the United says are to be chosen every four years by a small group of world (currently 538) who are individually referred to as “presidential electors” and collectively referred to as the “Electoral College.”

The Constitution states that each state is licensed has been granted to one member of the Electoral College for each the its U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators. Today, there room a complete of 538 electoral votes in the Electoral College. This complete of 538 synchronizes to the

435 U.S. Representatives from the 50 states, plus 100 U.S. Senators indigenous the 50 states, plus 3 members of the Electoral university to i m sorry the district of Columbia came to be entitled under the 23rd modification (ratified in 1961).

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Every 10 years, the 435 U.S. Representatives room reapportioned amongst the claims in accordance v the recent federal census, thereby instantly reapportioning the membership of the Electoral College among the states. The map below shows the variety of electoral votes for each state, according to the 2020 census.

Each political party nominates its own candidates (typically long-standing party activists, officeholders, or donors) for the place of presidential elector. In many states, the nominees for the place of presidential elector space nominated by district and state conventions of each different political party in the state. There are a selection of other techniques used. Because that example, in Pennsylvania, the presidential candidate himself or herself directly nominates their presidential electors. 

Members of the Electoral College room elected by each state and also the ar of Columbia on the Tuesday after ~ the very first Monday in November in presidential choice years. In 2020, election Day is Tuesday November 3, 2020. This day is collection by a federal legislation passed through Congress, and also may only by readjusted by Congress.

Forty-eight that the 50 says elect their presidential electors utilizing the so-called "winner-take-all" preeminence -- that is, 100% the the state"s presidential electors room awarded to the candidate who got the most famous vote inside each state. In Maine and Nebraska, one presidential elector is elected from each of the state"s congressional districts, and also two presidential electors are chosen on the communication of the statewide vote. Because that example, in 2008, Nebraska"s electoral votes divided 4-1, through McCain receiving four and Obama receiving one (as a an outcome of his winning Nebraska"s 2nd congressional district). In 2016, Maine"s electoral votes divided 3-1, v Clinton receiving three and also Trump receiving one (as a result of his winning Maine"s 2nd congressional ar in the northern part of the state). 

The 538 members of the Electoral College actors their votes because that President and Vice president in meetings hosted in the 50 state capitals and also the ar of Columbia in mid-December of presidential election years. If all 538 electors space appointed, 270 electoral votes (i.e., a majority of 538 members the the Electoral College) are forced to elect the President and the evil President.


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The three Wyoming members that the Electoral university met in December 1996 in Cheyenne to cast their votes for the Robert Dole because that President and Jack Kemp because that Vice President.

The date for the meeting of the Electoral university is established by federal election legislation (United says Code. Location 3, thing 1, ar 7). In 2020, the designated day for the meeting of the Electoral college is Monday, December 14. This day is set by a federal law enacted in 1934, after ~ the 20th Amendment adjusted the date for the presidential inauguration native March 4 to January 20.


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The 3 North Dakota members the the Electoral college met ~ above December 15, 2000, in Bismarck to actors their votes for the Bush-Cheney ticket. Gov. Man Hoeven (left) observes previous Gov. Ed Schafer put his signature to ballot for Electoral College. The other two electors are previous state councilor Bryce Streibel the Fressenden and also former Lieutenant governor Rosemarie Myrdal.

The people have the right, under the U.S. Constitution, to poll for U.S. Representatives. The 17th modification (ratified in 1913) provided the world the right to poll for U.S. Senators (who were elected by state legislatures under the original Constitution). However, the people have no federal constitutional right to poll for chairman or Vice president or for their state’s members of the Electoral College. Instead, the constitution (Article II, section 1, clause 2) provides:

“Each State candlestick appoint, in such Manner as the legislature thereof might direct, a number of Electors, same to the whole number of Senators and also Representatives come which the State might be entitled in the Congress….”

As the U.S. Supreme Court observed in the 1892 situation of McPherson v. Blacker:

“The structure does not administer that the appointment of electors shall be by well-known vote, nor that the electors shall be voted because that upon a general ticket, nor the the bulk of those that exercise the elective franchise deserve to alone pick the electors.” …

“In short, the appointment and mode of appointment of electors belong solely to the says under the structure of the joined States.”

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore reiterated the principle that the people have no federal constitutional appropriate to poll for chairman or Vice chairman or for your state’s members that the Electoral College..

“The separation, personal, instance citizen has no federal constitutional ideal to poll for electors for the president of the United states unless and until the state legislature choose a statewide election together the means to carry out its power to appoint members of the Electoral College.”

The Constitution’s delegation of power to the states to pick the way of picking their members that the Electoral university is person who is abnormal unconstrained. The contrasts considerably with the limitations contained in the constitution on state power over the path of conducting congressional elections (Article II, section 4, i 1).

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“The Times, Places and also Manner of hold Elections because that Senators and also Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof; however the Congress may at any kind of time by law make or alter such Regulations….”

In a 1919 situation involving a state state entitled “An act granting to ladies the best to poll for presidential electors,” the Maine supreme Judicial Court created (In re Opinion that the Justices):

ach state is in order to clothed with the absolute strength to appoint electors in together manner together it may see fit, without any interference or regulate on the part of the federal government, except, that course, in situation of attempted discrimination as to race, color, or previous problem of servitude….”


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Certificate the Ascertainment mirroring that Wyoming cast its three electoral votes because that the Bush-Cheney ticket since that slate that candidates received an ext popular votes in Wyoming than any type of other slate.