• Point two is that each state gets one elector per member of Congress. If you’re Alaska, you get three, because you’ve got two senators and one representative. If you’re California, you’ve got 55, because you’ve got two senators and 53 representatives. The total of US electoral votes is 538. That’s why 270 will be the magic number on Election Day night – it’s half of 538, plus one.
We understand the math there may be more than any actual pundits in the crowd can handle. Our advice to them is to just relax and lie down on a green room couch until New York Times polling pro Nate Silver walks in and explains it to you.
• Point three is that a candidate who wins the majority of votes in a state gets all its electoral votes. The exceptions to this rule are Nebraska and Maine, where the state winner gets the two electoral votes derived from the two senators, while the candidate who wins each congressional district gets the electoral vote derived from that representative.
Got that? No? Perhaps that’s why the other states don’t do it: the Electoral College is complicated enough without adding layers.
Also there is no truth to the rumor that Nebraska and Maine are pushing for a constitutional amendment allowing the winners of their respective states, if different, to fight a lasso vs. chain saw cage match for two extra electors.
• Point four is that the electors elected by the electorate cast their votes in their own special election. On the first Monday after the second Wednesday after Election Day, the electors meet in their respective states for their choices to be recorded on a special certificate which is forwarded to Congress and the National Archives as part of that cycle’s official records.