What is the electoral college and how does it work?

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Joe Biden won the 2020 election with a current total of 279 electoral votes, exceeding the 270 needed to take the presidency.In American elections, Americans vote for candidates called “voters” in their state who support the candidate they want to become president – this process is called the Electoral College.

The more people who live in a state, the more voters there are for that state. So California, for example, with a population of 38.8 million, has 55 votes – while Delaware, (pop. 936,000), has only three.

There are currently 538 voters in total, which equates to 435 Representatives (Congressmen and Women) and 100 Senators, plus the three additional voters in the District of Columbia. The Constitution prohibits any federal civil servant, elected or appointed, from being a voter.

The candidate with the most voters wins all of the state’s electoral college votes, and the first candidate to win enough states to get 270 electoral votes is elected to that office.

Follow the results of the 2020 US election live

Who can become president?

The President of the United States can be a man or a woman of any race or religion, but he must:

  • be at least 35 years old
  • were born in the United States
  • have lived in the United States for at least 14 years

The rules also state that a person can only hold a position for a maximum of eight years. (The only exception to this rule was Franklin D Roosevelt, who was elected to a third special term at the height of World War II.)

The two candidates in the 2020 presidential election were Donald Trump, who represents the Republican Party, and Democrat Joe Biden, who was vice president under the Obama administration from 2009 to 2017.

What is the electoral college?

The Electoral College chooses the President of the United States. When an American citizen votes, he does not directly choose a presidential candidate. Instead, they choose an official, who will represent them in the “college”. The word college translates to a large group of people (elected officials) who have the task of choosing the president, and this role is performed a few weeks after the results of election day.

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