Accessibility links

Breaking News

Student Union

UPDATE: What Is Electoral College and Why Are Americans Mad At It?

UPDATE: This story has been updated with current popular vote numbers, and the recount efforts.

What is the Electoral College? Why are some Americans so mad about it? Why didn’t Hillary Clinton win when she received a larger number of votes than Donald Trump?

Even President-elect Donald Trump's opinions on this American institution have changed over the years:





Calls for Recounts in Three Major States

As of Nov. 29, CNN's popular vote count stands at:

Clinton: 64,469,963

Trump: 62,379,366

Jill Stein, the Green Party Candidate, has successfully funded recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and plans on funding one in Michigan (which has just been declared for Trump). The Stein campaign is not doing this to help Clinton, and instead says it is an "Effort to ensure the integrity of our elections."

Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Erik Elias said in a Medium post that the campaign does plan on participating in the Wisconsin recount, "In order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides."

This is what Trump had to say on the matter:



Electoral College History

The Electoral College was established in 1787, "As a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens," according to the National Archives and Records Administration.

There are 538 total electors. A candidate must win at least 270 to become the next president. Electors are assigned to states according to the number of representatives the state has in Congress, plus two for the senators, says the National Archives and Records Administration.

For example, Ohio has 18 electoral votes. This means that the state of Ohio has 16 Representatives, plus two electors for the Senators.

The current 2016 electoral map looks like this.



Only four presidents before President-elect Trump have lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College. According to the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, the last time this happened was in 2000 in the race between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Gore won the popular vote; Bush became president.

Many Americans are not happy with the way the system works. In a Change.org petition, over 4 million Americans are calling for the Electoral College to make Hillary Clinton the president on December 19, when the electoral college cast their ballots.

This plan would rely heavily on "faithless electors," who FairVote said are, "members of the electoral college who, for whatever reason, do not vote for their party's designated candidate."

Trump mentioned the popular vote on Twitter.



Unless the Electoral College breaks precedent in a large way, it is unlikely that the election results will be changed December 19.

Leave a comment, and join the conversation on our Facebook page, thanks!

See all News Updates of the Day

Campus protests cause some students to rethink US colleges

FILE - Students continue to maintain a protest encampment in support of Palestinians on the Columbia University campus April 24, 2024, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in New York City.
FILE - Students continue to maintain a protest encampment in support of Palestinians on the Columbia University campus April 24, 2024, during the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in New York City.

Campus protests at U.S. colleges, and the accompanying unrest and violence, are causing some international students to rethink their plans to study in the United States.

Writing in the Straits Times, Vihanya Rakshika reports that safety concerns are motivating parents to look elsewhere for their children’s higher education. (June 2024)

Which schools have biggest alumni networks?

FILE - In this March 14, 2019, photo, students walk on the Stanford University campus in Santa Clara, Calif.
FILE - In this March 14, 2019, photo, students walk on the Stanford University campus in Santa Clara, Calif.

In addition to considering the cost and reputation of a school, prospective students should consider alumni networks – connected graduates who can help with the job search once classes are complete.

Writing in University Magazine, Anwar Abdi takes a look at the 25 U.S. universities with the largest alumni networks. (June 2024)

Report: Number of college dropouts remains high

FILE - The name for the University of Southern California is displayed at a campus entrance in Los Angeles, April 16, 2024.
FILE - The name for the University of Southern California is displayed at a campus entrance in Los Angeles, April 16, 2024.

Enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is increasing, but the number of dropouts remains high, according to a report in the Chronicle of High Education.

Amanda Friedman writes that more former students are returning to school, but many want shorter-term programs, such as certificate programs. (June 2024)

Xi wants more exchanges between US, Chinese universities

FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.
FILE - Chinese President Xi Jinping talks to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (not seen) at the Great Hall of the People, on April 26, 2024, in Beijing, China.

Mutual understanding between China and the United States can be improved by having more university exchanges between the two countries.

According to Bloomberg, Chinese President Xi Jinpin told Xinhua News Agency that exchanges could develop young ambassadors who understand both countries. (June 2024)

Students learn protests can affect job prospects

FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.
FILE - Students protesting against the war in Gaza, and passersby walking through Harvard Yard, are seen at an encampment at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., on April 25, 2024.

Some students in the U.S. are learning their public stances on the Israel-Hamas war are having an impact on job prospects.

Financial Times reports that protest activities are turning up in background checks, and employers have revoked employment offers to students as a result. (June 2024)

Load more

XS
SM
MD
LG