Why aren't the candidates busily visiting all 50 states? Why the emphasis on Ohio, Wisconsin, Florida?
And what the hayfever is the Electoral College? Why do they decide who wins an election rather than how many votes are cast by the people of the United States?
The short answer is: that's the way the Constitution was written.
The popular vote 'counts' because that is supposed to determine how the electoral representative votes. So, if Utah votes for Candidate A, then its electoral representative is supposed to vote for Candidate A.
There are 538 total electoral representatives. The word used for this group of people is a "College." There are 535 electors for the 50 states plus 3 for Washington, D.C.
And Triogenius says what??
One has to wonder why a single city gets 3, the same amount as the states of Vermont or Wyoming. This is the result of the 23rd Amendment. Did you know that Washington, D.C., has tried numerous times to be considered a state? True. However, it has never been successful in that effort. Therefore, even though it doesn't have any separate state representatives, that city is allowed its 3 electoral votes, unless that 23rd amendment is repealed.
How do people become electoral representatives? Usually, they are nominated for it by the parties they work for; so someone who has been a dedicated member of the Democrat, Republican, Green, Independent, or other party may get the job, and are chosen at the state convention of that party. An electoral representative cannot be a Representative or Senator or a high-ranking United States official of any kind. He or she can't have 'engaged in insurrection or rebellion,' according to the Constitution. This person then pledges to vote according to the results of the election held the November before.
But not always. Rarely, but it has happened, an electoral representative can vote against the popular votes. Having done that, the person is usually banished from his or her party. This is called a 'faithless vote.' Check this out: There is no law that requires the elector to vote according to his/her pledge. When this happens they are called "Faithless Electors." Some, but not all, states have laws to enforce that pledge to cast their votes according to the popular results-in North Carolina, for example, the fine is $10,000 for this offense
Each state gets 2 electoral votes to match the number of senators (2 per state). They get additional electoral votes based on their population. Since the number of electoral votes is so important, you will notice the candidates campaign much more in those states. Such as:
North Carolina 15
And what happens with the electoral votes after the election is over? On the Monday following the 2nd Wednesday in December (who thinks these things up???) the electoral college meets at each of their state capitols and casts their votes. The votes are sealed and sent to the president of the Senate.
Who is the president of the Senate? Anyone? I hear crickets........
Hint: the president of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States. Please tell me you know who that is.
The ballots are opened on January 6 and read in the presence of both houses, the Senate and Congress.
For more confusion ...or possibly clarification, try:
Election Day is November 6 Two weeks from today.......Find your polling place and cast your vote!