Presidential Elections

The Electoral College

How are the electoral votes tabulated?

The electoral vote results are counted and certified by a joint session of Congress, held on January 6 of the year succeeding the election. A majority of electoral votes is required to win. In the 2008 presidential election, this number was 270 of the 538 electors. If no candidate receives a majority, then the president is elected by the House of Representatives, and the vice president is elected by the Senate, a process known as a contingent election.


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