The contested presidential election of 1876. Photo credit: US House of Representatives

We live in a democratic society. Or so we are told. Yet many Americans don’t understand how the Electoral College impedes democracy.

While most Americans have a basic understanding of the Electoral College, far fewer of them know it’s an extraordinarily undemocratic system.

Did you know, for example, that it is mathematically possible to win an election with less than 22% of the popular vote even if only two candidates are running? Or that electors are not bound by the choice of the voters in their state?

Thanks to the current system, small states are given much more weight and candidates only bother to show up in a few tightly contested states. Everybody else really doesn’t matter.

As you wait for election results to come in, watch these three short videos to learn more about the Electoral College and the mess it is. And if you like chaos, you’ll be rooting for Trump and Clinton to each win 269 electors.

Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from electoral college map (CGP Grey / YouTube)

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