In the wake of the election, many voters were frustrated by the results of the election and have been actively criticizing the system and the candidates. Some are searching for ways to work around the outcome and are looking towards the Electoral College as a way out of the situation that the country is in. This raises the question: can the Electoral College really overturn the results of the election? In order to answer this question, it is important to understand how the Electoral College works.
The General Election happened on November 8. This, however, was not the final say in the election. The Electoral College is what has the ultimate power over the next president. Each state has a specific number of electoral votes which are based on the population of that state. However, the minimum for any state is three. Donald Trump was the apparent winner of these votes, due to him winning a larger number of states. Nevertheless, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote—the number of actual votes—by a record margin of over 1.5 million votes in counting. This, nevertheless, is not definite.
The electors are chosen by the state and cast their vote on December 19—more than a month after the general election. While the electors generally vote the way their state swayed, most hold the power to vote who they see best fit, regardless of their state’s opinion. However, in some states, it is prohibited for an elector to vote for a candidate who did not win that state in the general election.
The original purpose of this system—which was made with the foundation of our government—was so that if the government believed that the nation had made an unwise decision, they would have the power to overturn it. However, many though have claimed that it has worked backwards. One very famous example of this was when George Bush won the election even though Al Gore won the popular vote in the 2000 election.
This has obviously has upset countless voters, and led them to believing the system is corrupt. There has been numerous efforts to convince electors to vote for Clinton instead of Trump, especially in close states like Michigan and Wisconsin. While doing so is technically possible, it is highly unlikely that this would make a significant impact on the results of the election. Even if people were able to sway some elector’s votes, it is improbable that that they would gain enough votes to actually alter the outcome.