Ask Evan: Who came up with the magic number of 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency?

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This week's Ask Evan deals with the general election. More specifically, it deals with the Electoral College, which is set to meet on December 19th to cast their votes for the next president.

This question comes from Stephen S. He asks, "When we had the presidential election I know the key number was 270. But my question to you is, who came up with the magic number of 270 and when was this established?"

The whole plan goes back to the Founding Fathers who instead of of setting up a presidential election system through direct democracy, the nation's founders established the electoral college in part to ensure the entire nation has a more equal say in the choosing of a national president.

The framers wanted to offset the chance that a single populous state or region would put forth a "favorite son" candidate that would almost exclusively represent the contender's home state and disregard the needs of other parts of the country

Today, there are 538 electors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The number of electors from each state is equal to the number of congressional seats the state has in the house and senate.

The District of Columbia was granted three electors by the 23rd amendment,
as for the major number of 270... that is how many it takes to win.  If one candidate gets 270, the most the other could have is 268.
Since the total number of electors of 538, is an even number, that could lead to a tie. In this case, the House of Representatives would be called upon to choose the president.

This has only happened twice in the nation's history-- in the early 1800's.
it is extremely rare.

This year the electoral college meets December 19th.

If you have questions you'd like to ask, send an email to Put "Ask Evan" in the subject line or reach out on Facebook.

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