Skip to Main Content

University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Elections and Voting

Find information about national, state, and local elections in the United States, including voter registration and identification requirements, voting rights, polling places, and other resources.

What is the Electoral College?

When a person casts their ballot vote, they are voting for electors who make up the Electoral College, who then vote for the president. With a potentially misleading name, the Electoral College is not a place, rather it is a process for how the United States decides who wins the presidency. The term can also refer to the body of electors chosen by each state. 

Each state is designated a respective number of electors based on the state’s population size that is updated every ten years by the U.S. Census. The total electors consists of the total members of the House of Representatives, Senators, and electors from the District of Columbia.

The resources below are meant to guide you in your understanding of the Electoral College and how it operates in U.S. presidential elections. 

Where to start in understanding how the Electoral College works? 

Here is a quick 5-minute video explanation on the Electoral College by TED-Ed:

This ten-minute video from 2019 goes into depth about the Electoral College and addresses common criticism for the process:

Furthering Understanding in the Electoral College - Resources

These webpages are useful for learning more about the Electoral College.