Elections

Take A Look At The Electoral College By The Numbers

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Kerry Picket Political Reporter

State electors meet Monday in their respective state capitols to cast their ballots for president of the United States amid talk of pressuring electors to be “faithless.” Here is how some numbers related to the College break down.

   2016 Popular Vote Totals by State by CBS News Politics on Scribd

 

There are 538 Electoral College members who represent each electoral vote that was cast for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

The number of state electors is based on the state’s number of U.S. House of Representatives plus two, their U.S. senators — for example, Texas has 36 House members plus two U.S. senators, which equals 38 electors.

The Electoral College system began in 1789 and there have been only 157 “faithless electors,” who did not vote for their party’s designated candidate, says FairVote.org.

Seventy-one of these faithless electors changed their vote because their designated candidate died before the day the Electoral College met to cast ballots. Three electors opted to abstain and 83 remaining faithless electors changed their vote due to the personal choice of the elector.

Of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, 21 do not mandate electors vote for their party nominee. The 30 states (plus D.C.) that do require electors to cast their ballots for the designated nominee may face an assortment of punishments ranging from fines to misdemeanors.

Almost 127 million people voted for president in 2016 election cycle.

With 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidential election, Donald Trump won with 306 electoral votes and Hillary Clinton won 232.

Clinton won 2.5 million more votes cast nationally, but Trump won 30 of the 50 popular state-wide vote contests.

Clinton’s margin of victory in California, which was 4.2 million, is more than her national lead. Additionally, she won New York by around 1.7 million votes.

Of the six most populated states in the country, the Associated Press reported, Clinton and Trump each won three. However, Trump garnered seven of the 10 most populated, and among the 10 smallest states in addition to the District of Columbia, Trump just beat Clinton 6-5.

Clinton won a majority of the popular vote in thirteen states. National Review notes this is the fewest of any major-party nominee since Bob Dole in 1996. Clinton won the popular majority in half as many states as Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 as well as nearly over half as many as Mitt Romney. The only non-coastal state where Clinton picked up 50 percent of the vote was her native home state of Illinois.

The Electoral College, 538’s Nate Silver points out, favored Democrats in half of the elections since 1948.

Looking back, over 57.6 million people, or 28.5 percent of estimated eligible voters, cast ballots in the Republican and Democratic primaries—a similar but not as high a turnout as 2008, the Pew Research Center reported. Republicans brought out 14.8 percent of its voters, while Democrats saw 14.4 percent of their voters come out during the primaries.

The primary turn out for Republicans ticked upward from 2008 (11 percent) and 2012 (9.8 percent), as opposed to the record Democratic primary turnout in 2008 (19.5 percent).

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