North Carolina has 15 Electoral College votes. Here’s how it works.

RALEIGH

One of the reasons North Carolina is being watched around the world in the run-up to the presidential election is because of its electoral votes.

Our state has 15 electoral votes, which can be enough to swing an election. The presidential ticket needs at least 270 electoral votes, a majority of the 538 total, to win. Because North Carolina is evenly-divided politically, whichever candidate wins the state has a good chance of winning the national election.

Here’s a guide to the Electoral College in North Carolina:

Is the Electoral College a place?

No. As the National Archives describes it, the Electoral College is “a process, not a place.” In North Carolina, the Secretary of State oversees the Electoral College meeting. Elaine Marshall holds that office currently.

Why do we have an Electoral College, and what does it do?

The Electoral College was included in the U.S. Constitution as a compromise between Congress electing the president and citizens electing the president. Instead of directly electing the president and vice president, voters actually vote for which candidate they want their state’s electors to vote for, and those electors in turn elect the president and vice president.

That is why a candidate can win the popular vote nationwide but not the election. In 2016, Hillary Clinton received nearly 2.9 million more votes than Donald Trump, but Trump won the election with 304 electoral votes.

So where do they vote?

In North Carolina, the Electoral College meets in the House chamber of the old State Capitol building in downtown Raleigh, according to state law.

When does the Electoral College vote?

This year the vote will take place Monday, Dec. 14. All Electoral College votes across the United States are cast on the same day.

Do people want to change the Electoral College process?

Yes, there have been many challenges to the process. But it can only change by Constitutional amendment because it is part of the U.S. Constitution.

How many electors does North Carolina have? Why?

North Carolina has 15 electors. That’s two electors for our two U.S. senators and 13 electors because that’s how many House seats we have in Congress. Each state gets two for its senators, and the rest correspond to the number of representatives.

Which party gets to vote for North Carolina?

Each political party on the presidential ballot chooses 15 electors, usually at its state convention. That means there are 15 Democrats, 15 Republicans and 15 each for the Green, Constitution and Libertarian parties who are in-waiting, along with alternates. Whichever political party’s candidate wins North Carolina, those electors are the ones who vote. Of the 15, two are chosen at-large and the other 13 are chosen from each of the state’s Congressional districts.

What is it like to be an elector?

Republican Susan Mills of Fayetteville is one of this year’s NCGOP electors. She is a high school family and consumer sciences teacher and has been involved in the Republican Party at the county, district and