Electoral college: Why Donald Trump could end up in the White House despite Hillary Clinton receiving more votes

It's rare but not unique that the president doesn't actually have the support of most voters

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 09 November 2016 04:34 GMT
Electoral College voting: How the United States decides its president

Hillary Clinton is still likely to receive the most votes among the US public. But Donald Trump is likely to become the next president.

The country's electoral college system means that despite winning the popular vote, Mr Trump could easily find his way into the White House this year.

That's because all that matters is how many states each candidate wins, and which states those are. The electoral college system means that getting more votes doesn't really matter at all.

Under the electoral college system, all that matters is the first person to get to 270 votes, a majority of the votes.

The system works by assigning each state a number of electoral college votes, dependent on how many people live there. Then each state gives all of the votes to the person who wins the most votes in that specific state – no matter how close the margin is.

All of those electoral college votes are then added together to see who gets a majority of those representatives. The person who gets the most of the 538 votes – usually 270, because only two parties really run – becomes the next president of the US.

Because Ms Clinton is losing votes in many important, big states – like Florida and Michigan – she is unlikely to win the election. But because she's losing many of those states by a tiny margin and is winning some by a landslide, she's likely to get more votes overall.

It is rare that the college votes and the popular vote don't line up, but such a result would be far from unique. A similar result happened between Al Gore and George Bush in 2000 – beginning weeks of speculation and arguments, but with George Bush ending up taking executive power.

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