Charlotte Talks Politics: 2020 Voting Is About To Start, But The Electoral College Has The Final Say

Jan 20, 2020

Monday, Jan. 20, 2020

One year from today, someone will be taking the presidential oath of office. Who that someone is depends on the outcome in the Electoral College - the controversial, but constitutional mechanism of selecting the president.

This show originally aired May 21, 2019

Election Day is a race to the number 270.

Under the Electoral College, the leading vote-getter in each state is awarded that state's share of electors. The candidate receiving at least 270 electoral votes nationwide becomes president.

That outcome hasn't always been in line with the national popular vote. That was the case with Donald Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000.

Protesters outside the U.S. Supreme Court during the Bush v. Gore hearing.
Credit Flickr / Elvert Barnes

A Pew survey last spring found 55 percent of Americans supported abolishing the Electoral College, as do some leading Democratic presidential candidates. Some states are also taking steps to buck the system.

Why do we pick the president this way? What are the pros and cons of sticking with it?


George Edwards, Texas A&M University, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Jordan Chair in Presidential Studies; author of "Why the Electoral College is Bad for America"