As of 2014, a candidate needs 270 out of 538 total electoral votes to win the election. A candidate must receive more than half the votes in the Electoral College in order to become president.
The Electoral College is comprised of electors for the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each state's electoral votes are determined by the amount of representatives it has in Congress. The District of Columbia and 48 states award all electoral votes to the candidate who receives the majority of the popular votes in the state. If no candidate receives enough votes to win, the president is chosen by the House of Representatives from the three candidates receiving the most electoral votes.