7 Important Difference between Electoral Vote and Popular Vote

What is the difference between electoral vote and popular vote?

The presidential election in the United States is done every four years. The winner of the presidential election is determined by the Electoral College system.

The main difference between the popular vote and electoral vote is that popular vote represents direct democracy whereas electoral vote refers to a representative republic.

Difference between Electoral Vote and Popular Vote

Comparison Table between Electoral Vote and Popular Vote

Basic Terms Electoral Vote Popular Vote
Political Structure Representative republic Direct Democracy
Party Benefits Favors majority parties Does not favor any party
Voting district establishment Mandatory Not required
Gerrymandering Present due to the establishment of voting districts Not present due to lack of voting district
Bureaucracy Require formation of committees, college or council to vote No formation of election groups
Progression of Vote Citizens vote for delegates based on party affiliation Citizens vote for the person of their choice based on the position
Modern History Does not allow higher populated areas to take advantage Quite difficult to accomplish beyond geographically.

What Is the Electoral Vote?

The Electoral College was founded in 1787 and it consists of delegates. These delegators are chosen by the United States and the District of Columbia.

The Electoral College has about 538 electors and they have voting membership based on the House of Representatives and senate.

The electoral vote is a key determinant of the presidential seat. The president needs 270 electoral votes to win the Electoral College votes.

Advantages of Electoral Vote

  1. Help to protect the rights of smaller states
  2. No large political party can commit fraud to influence an election
  3. Act as an inherent check and balance of presidential administration
  4. Protect the cornerstone of American Federalism

Disadvantages of Electoral Vote

  1. The system is unfair to direct democracy
  2. Does not penalize a state for low voter turnout
  3. Discourage voters where the political party hold majority voters

What Is the Popular Vote?

The popular vote refers to the total number of votes a candidate has received nationwide. It normally represents direct democracy exercise by the electorate.

The citizens have the right to vote for the leader of their choice. The leader with majority votes takes the position.

There is no formation of election groups but the government may have oversight organizations. It tends to improve the potential of minorities since it favors no party size.

Main Difference between Electoral Vote and Popular Vote in Point Form

  1. The political structure of the electoral vote is representative republic while that of the popular vote is direct democracy
  2. Electoral vote tend to favor majority parties while popular vote does not favor any party
  3. Gerrymandering is present in electoral vote whereas absent in popular vote due to lack of voting district
  4. Voting district establishment in an electoral vote is mandatory whereas in the popular vote is not required
  5. Citizen votes for delegates in electoral vote whereas citizen chose the representative of their chose in the popular vote

Similarities between Electoral Vote and Popular Vote

  1. Both play a vital role in the presidential election
  2. Both favor the rights of minorities
  3. Both involve government oversight organizations

Frequently Asked Questions (Electoral Vote Vs Popular Vote)

  • What is the Point of Popular Vote?

The popular vote is the total number or percentage of votes cast for a candidate by voters in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. The candidate who gets the most votes nationwide is said to have won the popular vote.

  • Can Popular Vote Override Electoral College?

It is rare for electors to disregard the popular vote by casting their electoral votes for someone other than their party’s candidate.

There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their States.

  • How Does Popular Vote and Electoral College Work?

The candidates are elected directly by popular vote. But the president and vice president are not elected directly by citizens.

The Electoral College system is used to elect the president and the vice present through electors. It was a compromise between a popular vote by citizens and a vote in Congress.

  • Why is the Popular Vote not used?

The popular vote is not used to determine who is elected as the nation’s president or vice president. This is because presidential elections are indirect elections by members of the Electoral College.

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Comparison Video


The core difference between electoral vote and popular vote is that the electoral vote determines the winner of the presidential seat through electors whereas popular vote gives citizens the right to choose a representative of their choice.

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