Electoral College FAQs

Electoral College
Major Parties
Minor Parties and Qualified Political Organizations

Electoral College

What is the Electoral College?

It is a group of 538 people, chosen by the states and the District of Columbia, that are responsible for electing the President and Vice President of the United States. When you cast your vote for a presidential/vice-presidential ticket, you are actually casting a vote for the slate of electors in your state that were chosen to represent that ticket in the Electoral College.

How are electors chosen?

Each state determines how electors are chosen. In most states, political parties determine their electors.

States are allocated electors based on their number of Congressional legislators. For example, Colorado is entitled to nine electors because it has two members of the U.S. Senate and seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The District of Columbia is entitled to 3 electors by virtue of the 23rd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In order to be elected, a presidential/vice-presidential ticket must receive at least 270 Electoral College votes, which amounts to a majority of the votes cast by the 538 electors.

How does Colorado nominate its members of the Electoral College?

Nominating Presidential Electors [1]

  • Each Colorado political party nominates delegates to its national convention during the state party conventions. During these assemblies, the parties also nominate their Electoral College electors.
  • Unaffiliated presidential candidates may access the ballot in Colorado either by petition or by submitting a statement of intent and a $1,000 filing fee. In either case, each unaffiliated candidate must also submit a list of presidential elector nominees when the candidate files with the Secretary of State.
  • Write-in presidential candidates may also access the ballot in Colorado. Each write-in candidate must submit a list of presidential elector nominees when the candidate files with the Secretary of State.

When do Colorado's presidential electors meet?

Meeting of the Presidential Electors [2]

  • Following the presidential election, Colorado’s nine designated electors meet in the Governor’s office to cast their votes for president and vice president. In 2016, the electors will meet on December 19, which is the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.
  • Under Colorado law, each presidential elector must vote for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates who received the highest number of votes in Colorado’s General Election.

Where can I find more information about the Electoral College?

Visit the National Archives and Records Administration website at: http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/.

I have more questions.

Contact the Elections Division at 303-869-4938, or email us at ballot.access@sos.state.co.us.

[1] 1-4-302 & 1-4-303, C.R.S.
[2] 1-4-304, C.R.S.