Anyway, we thought we'd chip in from across the pond for Turn Up To Vote week, to try and take on a big challenge: explaining the electoral college.
So, as you may have heard, the Electoral College is a system that means when you *think* you're voting for, say, Leslie Knope for President of the United States of America, you're technically not voting for Leslie Knope for President of the United States of America.
OK, but, like, what? Who gets to be an elector, and can we trust them? Don't worry, we've googled this for you!
Anyway, after the election in November, there's a meeting of the electors in each state, which happens on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.
It's a very special day that all electors look forward to.
Then on the 6th of January after the meeting of the electors, the votes are counted in a joint session of Congress. The electors' votes get carried into Congress in these sweet mahogany boxes.
This is the bit that finally makes the result of the election formal.
Right. So. Here's a weird thing: There actually isn't a law that means the electors *have* to vote the way they've been pledged – and sometimes they don't! Those who don't are called "faithless electors".
Basically faithless electors are messy bitches who live for drama.
OK, but how do they figure out how many electors each state gets?
California has the most (55), and Vermont, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, and Washington D.C. (NOT EVEN A REAL STATE) only have three.
In every state except Nebraska and Maine, electors are awarded in a winner-takes-all system based on the state's popular vote.
In any case, don't feel bad for the states that only have three electors, because their relatively low population means that there are about 200,000 people per elector in Wyoming, but around 700,000 people per elector in Florida, for example.
A candidate needs 270 electors to win the presidency. As of Wednesday, FiveThirtyEight was predicting Hilary Clinton would win 353 electors in November, and Donald Trump would win 184.
To see different ways for a candidate to get to 270 electors, you can play around with your own electoral college map on 270towin.com. We made one ourselves depicting a resounding Trump victory:
Four times in U.S. history, a presidential candidate has won the popular vote, but lost the election due to the Electoral College system.
But also, this system means that certain states are far more influential than others by virtue of being "battleground states" that can plausibly swing either way in each election.
They *nearly* changed the system in 1969 when the House of Representatives passed an amendment to directly elect the president and vice president, but the Senate was like, "nah".
To sum up: When you cast a ballot for a presidential candidate, you're actually voting for a shadowy elector who may or may not stab you in the back, some Americans' votes count more than others, sometimes you get a president who didn't win the most votes, and it would be pretty hard to change anything.
BUT ALSO, you guys get stickers when you vote! We don't get that in Britain!
And, whether or not you think the Electoral College is a fair system in 2016, at least you can be happy that you have some really great candidates this year.
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