Explaining the Electoral College

This is Stephanie of IMS.

As I’m sure everyone knows, the United States Presidential Election was held last month on November 3, 2020. Former vice-president Joe Biden won both the popular and electoral vote and is currently preparing to take up the presidential role in January 2021. However, the elections held last month are not the last of the process. The president of the United States is chosen by the electoral college a month later in December.

The process goes like this:

  1. Americans vote for the next president on Election Day (November)
  2. Their votes elect the official 538 Presidential electors who will give their official votes for President and Vice President
    *This is where you may have seen the “270 votes to win” number in the news
  3. The Electoral College votes a month later in December on who should be the next President
    *The members of the Electoral College historically vote in accordance with how their state voted, so usually there are no surprises

This year, the Electoral College vote was held on December 14, 2020. As of earlier today, Joe Biden has officially won the presidency with 306 electoral votes and 51.3% of the popular vote (the number of ballots from the American people). Next month, on January 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be officially sworn-in as President and begin his duties.

The process can be confusing even to Americans, so I hope this explanation was easy to understand. Many U.S. visa categories were affected and put on hold this year, including the L and J visas, which then affected many of our clients’ travel plans as well. We hope that the new Biden Administration will relax these visa restrictions and allow immigration and cultural exchange to return to healthy levels.