How Many Electoral Votes Does a Candidate Need to Win?

In 1787 the Founding Fathers met at the Constitutional Convention, and the electoral college was born. The now-kinda-outdated-but-we’re-in-too-deep voting practice selects the election winner not through the popular vote but by the electoral vote. Which means the candidate who was the most popular in that state gets all the electoral votes for that state (with the exception of Maine and Nebraska).

Each state has a different number of electors: California has 55, but North Carolina has 15. When you add all up the states and their electors, the total equals 538 electors in all—but how many of their votes do you need for the election?

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