US Electoral College

The constitution of the USA requires an Electoral College to be formed every four years to elect the President and Vice President of the country. The US Electoral College consists of a group of presidential electors. Each state of the USA appoints electors equal to the number of congressional delegations from the state.

Key Points for UPSC Prelims

  • At present, there are 538 electors. A majority of 270 or more electoral votes is required for a candidate to be declared elected as the President of the US.
  • In case none of the candidates achieves the absolute majority in the Electoral College, then the US House of Representatives elects the president and the US Senate elects the Vice President through the contingent election.
  • The constitution and functioning of the Electoral College are being put to a continuous debate. Supporters state that it is a fundamental part of American Federalism while critics argue that it is less democratic and sometimes may elect a President who has not won the popular vote.

Contingent Elections

Contingent Election is a process that is followed to elect the US president and vice-president if no candidate gets a majority. Under the process, the president is elected by the special vote of the US House of Representatives, and the vice-president is elected by the US Senate. The contingent election process initially came into force under Section 1 of Article Two of the US Constitution. The procedure was amended in the year 1804 under which the US House of Representatives elects president out of the three candidates who received the most electoral votes and the US Senate elects vice-president out of the two candidates who received the most electoral votes.

As of now, the contingent elections have been conducted three times in the US- In the years 1801, 1825, and 1837.

US Electoral College confirms the win of Joe Biden in 2020 Elections

The Electoral College has now confirmed that Joe Biden has won the US Presidential Elections 2020 by getting 306 electoral votes. Donald Trump has lost the elections; he got 232 electoral votes.

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