On November 6th when you cast your vote for President and Vice President, you will not actually be voting for the person listed as the candidate for that office, you will be voting for the list of ‘electors’ for that office. In Arizona the list consists of 11 names. The 11 electors who win the Arizona vote will be given the task of voting for the candidate they represent. This process is called the Electoral College.
The Electoral College does not refer to a building or place. The term ‘college’ in this instance refers to “A body of persons having a common purpose or shared duties”. In the case of the Electoral College the common purpose and duty is to elect the President and Vice President of the United States.
Each state receives the number of electoral votes that is equal to the number of persons representing that state in the US legislature. Each state has 2 Senators therefore each state begins with 2 electoral votes and then added to that is the number of Representatives in Congress. In the case of Arizona, we have 9 House Representatives, add that to our 2 Senators and that is how we arrive at 11 electoral votes for Arizona.
The number of Representatives in Congress is determined by population and is recalculated every ten years along with the census. Since populations can shift, it is possible for states to gain or loose Electoral Votes. Below we can see that in the past 20 years Arizona gained electoral votes while Illinois lost electoral votes.
Except for Maine & Nebraska, the winner of the popular vote in a state receives all of that state’s electoral votes. Maine & Nebraska have systems where a candidate who wins a particular district, but not the overall state vote, may still gain an electoral vote.
There are 538 Electoral College members that cast ballots for President and Vice President. In order to win the Presidency, a candidate needs to receive 50% plus 1 or 270 electoral votes (538/2=269+1)
The state (recognized) political party chair appoints candidates for the office of presidential elector and files their names with the Secretary of State 90- 120 days before the primary election. A.R.S. 16-344