Many Americans will be glued to their television sets and news feeds November 8 to watch live election results, which show the total number of votes cast in each state for a presidential candidate.
It’s a good bet they will see maps. Lots of maps of America.
Here’s why. The maps help explain the way the U.S. elects a president.
The map above of the 50 states is what you are probably used to seeing.
This second map shows how many “electoral” votes each state has, with the states sized accordingly. Americans do not vote directly for their president. Instead, citizens of each state decide which candidate will receive its electors’ votes. The number of electoral votes a state has is based on its population.
Alaska, to the lower left (with just three electoral votes), is shown much smaller in this second map, while New York and Florida (with 29 votes each) appear bigger because they have more electoral votes. The presidential candidate who wins states with larger populations has a better chance of winning the election, which requires 270 electoral votes.