the u.s. presidential election system

50 separate elections


To help our readers understand the complicated US Presidential Election System, we present in the following pages an explanation of the system and how it works.
The US Presidential election is not a national election, it is the sum of fifty, simultaneous, independent, winner take all plurality elections, one per state, for the Electoral College votes of each state; and the winner is the one who receives a majority of 270 Electoral College votes.
The “winner take all” structure for each of 50 state elections means that it is possible for the winner of the Electoral College result, and the election, may have lost the popular vote result. For example, the table to the right includes 4 selected states in the 2016 Presidential election: Donald Trump won the election in three states (Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin), which together gave him all of their 59 Electoral College votes, whereas Hillary Clinton won California, receiving all of its 55 Electoral College votes. But Trump’s margin of victory to win 59 Electoral College votes was 215,263 votes compared to Clinton’s margin of 3,446,261 to win 55 Electoral College votes, so even though she received more than 3 million more votes than Trump, he received more Electoral College votes from these 4 states…

read more in number 35 of the diplomatic.
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