What determines the number of presidential electors a state gets?


Quick Answer

Each state receives the number of electors in the electoral college that it has elected officials in Congress: one per House of Representatives member and one per Senator. In addition, the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution allows the District of Columbia three electors. As of the Presidential election of 2012, several states also have three electoral votes, while California has the most at 55.

Continue Reading
What determines the number of presidential electors a state gets?
Credit: Mike McCune CC-BY 2.0

Full Answer

The President of the United States is elected by the electoral college, not by popular vote. The electoral college is made up of 538 electors in all. A candidate must receive a majority of at least 270 votes for election to the presidency. Each state has its specified number of electors, but different states have various laws regarding the obligations of those electors. Some states require the electors to vote for the candidate receiving the most votes in the state, but others have no such regulations. Most of the time, however, the electors vote for the candidate who wins the state's popular vote. Two states, Maine and Nebraska, have their electors vote for all candidates proportionally according to the popular vote for their particular state. Though the election occurs on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the electoral college does not vote until the Monday after the second Wednesday in December. If no candidate gets a majority, the election is thrown to the House of Representatives to decide between the top three candidates.

Learn more about Elections

Related Questions