UPDATE: What Is Electoral College and Why Are Americans Mad At It?

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UPDATE: This story has been updated with current popular vote numbers, and the recount efforts.

What is the Electoral College? Why are some Americans so mad about it? Why didn’t Hillary Clinton win when she received a larger number of votes than Donald Trump?

Even President-elect Donald Trump’s opinions on this American institution have changed over the years:

Calls for Recounts in Three Major States 

As of Nov. 29, CNN’s  popular vote count stands at:

Clinton: 64,469,963

Trump: 62,379,366

Jill Stein, the Green Party Candidate,  has successfully funded recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and plans on funding one in Michigan (which has just been declared for Trump). The Stein campaign is not doing this to help Clinton, and instead says it is an “Effort to ensure the integrity of our elections.”

Clinton campaign lawyer Marc Erik Elias said in a Medium post that the campaign does plan on participating in the Wisconsin recount, “In order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.”

This is what Trump had to say on the matter:

Electoral College History

The Electoral College was established in 1787, “As a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens,” according to the National Archives and Records Administration.

There are 538 total electors. A candidate must win at least 270 to become the next president. Electors are assigned to states according to the number of representatives the state has in Congress, plus two for the senators, says the National Archives and Records Administration.

For example, Ohio has 18 electoral votes. This means that the state of Ohio has 16 Representatives, plus two electors for the Senators.

The current 2016 electoral map looks like this.

Only four presidents before President-elect Trump have lost the popular vote but won the Electoral College. According to the Times-Picayune of New Orleans, the last time this happened was in 2000 in the race between Al Gore and George W. Bush. Gore won the popular vote; Bush became president.

Many Americans are not happy with the way the system works. In a Change.org petition, over 4 million Americans are calling for the Electoral College to make Hillary Clinton the president on December 19, when the electoral college cast their ballots.

This plan would rely heavily on “faithless electors,” who FairVote said are, “members of the electoral college who, for whatever reason, do not vote for their party’s designated candidate.”

Trump mentioned the popular vote on Twitter.

Unless the Electoral College breaks precedent in a large way, it is unlikely that the election results will be changed December 19.

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Brittney Welch

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