Inside Story

What does the US Electoral College actually do?

Millions of Americans will vote in the presidential election, but only 538 really count.

As many as 150 million votes are expected to be cast in this year’s US presidential election. But the ones that really count will belong to just 538 people: the presidential electors.

That is who voters are really choosing when they tick a box for Donald Trump or Joe Biden.

It is a system that’s unique and often confusing for outsiders.

Five times it has put the person who lost the popular vote into the White House. Three were in the 1800s with the other two in the last 20 years, most recently the last presidential election in 2016.

Is the institution from the 1780s fit-for-purpose in the 21st century?

Presenter:  Mohammed Jamjoom


Kesha Ram – Democratic elector candidate in Vermont and candidate for the Vermont Senate

Jennifer Victor – professor of political science, George Mason University

Jim Wass – Republican elector candidate in Maryland and chairman of Prince George’s County Republican Central Committee