All eight members of Kentucky’s Electoral College cast their ballots for Donald Trump Monday in the state senate chamber, following the will of the majority of Kentucky voters. Trump overwhelmingly won Kentucky’s popular vote over Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the November presidential election.
Before the casting of ballots, Kentucky Secretary of State Mike Adams praised the Electoral College process, quoting Alexander Hamilton.
“Hamilton concluded about the electoral college system, ‘if the manner of it not be perfect, it is at least excellent.’ I think he got that right,” Adams said.
Contrary to what many Americans believe, voters in the United States do not directly elect their president. Instead the president is chosen by the Electoral College, which has 538 members, or electors. Each state has a certain number of electors based on its number of U.S. senators and representatives. Kentucky has eight electors. In nearly all cases, each state’s electoral college votes are awarded to the candidate who wins the popular vote in that state.
A candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win the presidency. Joe Biden’s victories in the popular vote in several key states, including Michigan and Pennsylvania, theoretically got him the 270 electoral votes needed to clinch the presidency. That’s why Biden is being called the winner of the election. His win becomes official when all the states’ electors cast their ballots Monday.
However, not all states require electors to cast their ballots for the winner of the state’s popular vote. Kentucky is in a minority of states that do not have “faithless elector laws,” or laws that prevent electors from casting ballots for candidates who have not won the popular vote, according to FairVote.org.
Electors breaking with the popular vote is rare, but it has happened, including in the 2016 election.
The casting of ballots by electors is usually just a formality, but this year the event has gathered attention amid Trump’s baseless allegations of massive voter fraud.