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Constitutional FAQ Answer #99

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Q99. "How many electors are there in total?"

A. Article 2, Section 1, Clause 2 provides that "Each State shall appoint ... a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress." Based on this, we can easily determine the number of electors. The number of Representatives is fixed at 435 at this time. This is regardless of the number of states. The number of Senators is based on the number of states, two each - at this time, 100 total Senators. In addition, the 23rd Amendment provides the District of Columbia with the same number of electors as the state with the fewest electors - in other words, 3. 435 plus 100 plus 3 is 538 electors. When you hear commentators refer to the magic number of electors needed to win the Presidency, that number is 270, or half plus one.


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