How The Electoral College Works

By Christina Williams

Many American citizens think we vote for the President of the United States, but we do not. We vote for our electors and they go to their respective capital to cast their votes for the President and Vice President. Electors are part of the Electoral College and are not necessarily bound by the votes cast in their respective states. In 2016, both nominees did not receive all the electoral votes they earned.

The Electoral College is based on population. Every 10 years our nation has a decennial census to get an accurate reading on how many people live in each state. The population of each state determines the number of Congressional districts. In North Carolina we have 13 Congressional districts. With 2 Senatorial seats we had a total of 15 electoral votes in the Presidential election of 2020.

In 2024 North Carolina will have 14 Congressional districts and 2 Senate seats giving us a total of 16 electoral votes. Each state and their lawmakers debate where their Congressional district lines are drawn. The Supreme Court has ruled that we may gerrymander by party registration but may not do so with racial bias.

After Congressional lines are drawn, 538 electors are distributed throughout the United States. No state will have less than 3 electors made of 2 Federal Senators and at least one Federal House member. Once the electors are chosen, they gather at the state capital to elect a President and a Vice President. The votes are certified in their home state by a bureaucratic formality and shipped to Washington DC. Once there, the President of the Senate (the Vice President of the nation) reads off each state and its electors’ votes. If a state is to be challenged, a Congressman and a Senator must together challenge the President of the Senate for them to deliberate.

After all votes are counted, and all deliberations are completed, the Vice President of the nation (President of the Senate) will certify the 270 needed votes and declare the winner. If a 269 to 269 tie takes place another formality commences in which each state has one vote. Whoever gets at least 26 of 50 states wins.

Christina Williams is the Executive Director for the Pasquotank PAC. The Conservative organization meets on the SECOND and FOURTH Tuesdays at 7pm in Elizabeth City, NC. See the schedule and more information at