This answer key accompanies the Math Quiz: How to Tally Electoral College Votes worksheet about the Electoral College.

Your Turn: Quick Answers

1a. 154

1b. 153

1c. Answers will vary: any combination of 9 states that provides a total of at least 116 electoral votes.

2. 11

3a. 178

3b. 31 (not including Washington, D.C.)

4–6. Answers will vary.

 

Your Turn: Answers and Explanations

Use the numbers on our list — and some guessing and checking — to answer the questions.

1. Say that on Election Day, the Democratic candidate wins a majority of votes in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri, West Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. The Republican candidate wins Florida, Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and California.

a. How many electoral votes go to the Democrat?

154

b. How many go to the Republican?

153

c. Which nine of the remaining states would give the Democrat the victory?

Answers will vary: any combination of 9 states that provides a total of at least 116 electoral votes.

270 – 154 = 116

2. What is the fewest number of states a candidate needs to win to get 270 electoral votes?

11

Those states are California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, and New Jersey.

3. Say no candidate in a three-candidate race wins a majority of electoral votes.

a. What is the maximum number of electoral votes the third-place candidate could have received?

178

The first- and second-place candidates could both receive 180 electoral votes (180 + 180 + 178 = 538). If the third candidate received 179 electoral votes, the third- and second-place candidates would need to tie. 179 + 180 + 180 = 539, which is more than the total votes available. The numbers would need to be 179 + 179 + 180 = 538.

b. What is the maximum number of states that candidate could have won to finish third?

31 (not including Washington, D.C.)

29 of the 31 states are Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Nebraska, New Mexico, West Virginia, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Oregon, Kentucky, Louisiana, Alabama, Colorado, and South Carolina (which total 156 electoral votes). The remaining two states must be a combination of Washington state (12 electoral votes) and one state with ten electoral votes (Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, or Wisconsin), or two states with 11 electoral votes each (Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, or Tennessee).

4. Do you think every American's vote has the same weight in our electoral system? Why or why not?

Answers will vary.

5. Do you think a candidate from California has an edge over one from Alaska? Why or why not?

Answers will vary.

6. Say you're running for President. Make a list of states you'd most want to visit during the critical last two weeks of the campaign. Why would you choose those states?

Answers will vary.

 

Reference List Included on the Math Quiz: How to Tally Electoral College Vote Worksheet

How Many Electoral Votes Does Each State Get?

Alabama 9

Alaska 3

Arizona 11

Arkansas 6

California 55

Colorado 9

Connecticut 7

Delaware 3

Florida 29

Georgia 16

Hawaii 4

Idaho 4

Illinois 20

Indiana 11

Iowa 6

Kansas 6

Kentucky 8

Louisiana 8

Maine 4

Maryland 10

Massachusetts 11

Michigan 16

Minnesota 10

Mississippi 6

Missouri 10

Montana 3

Nebraska 5

Nevada 6

New Hampshire 4

New Jersey 14

New Mexico 5

New York 29

North Carolina 15

North Dakota 3

Ohio 18

Oklahoma 7

Oregon 7

Pennsylvania 20

Rhode Island 4

South Carolina 9

South Dakota 3

Tennessee 11

Texas 38

Utah 6

Vermont 3

Virginia 13

Washington 12

West Virginia 5

Wisconsin 10

Wyoming 3

District of Columbia 3

 

For more information about the Electoral College, visit the 270 to Win website.