Lesson: How the Electoral College Works (Grades 3 - 6)Submitted by go213mph on Wed, 04/25/2012 - 08:52
The citizens of the United States do not elect their president directly. When Americans cast their vote for a presidential candidate, they are really voting for an elector--a delegate pledged to vote for that same candidate. There are 538 such electors chosen in every presidential election. As a group they are known as the electoral college
Each state has as many electors as it has members in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives combined. The electoral college thus includes 535 electors from the states, one for each of the 435 members of the House plus one for each of the 100 senators. Another three electors represent the District of Columbia, for a total of 538.
According to the U.S. Constitution, state legislators decide how electors will be chosen in their states. First, each political party in a state nominates a slate (list) of electors. These electors are usually pledged to support the party's nominee for president and vice president. In some states, electors are legally required to vote for their candidate