Senators do not have any electoral votes. Electoral votes are only allocated to states based on their representation in Congress. The Electoral College is the body that actually elects the President and Vice President every four years. It is made up of 538 electors, and each state gets a certain number of electors based on its population. Senators are not part of the Electoral College and do not get to cast electoral votes. The only elected officials who get to vote in the Electoral College are the electors themselves, who are chosen by their political parties in each state. So in summary, senators have zero electoral votes.
The Electoral College System
The Electoral College system was established in Article II of the Constitution as a compromise between having the President be elected by popular vote and having the President be elected by Congress. Under this system, each state gets a certain number of electors based on its representation in Congress. Every state gets at least 3 electors, which corresponds to its two Senators and one Representative. Larger states get more electors based on the size of their Congressional delegation.
The political parties in each state nominate their slate of electors, and whichever party wins the statewide popular vote gets to have their electors cast their votes. Currently, most states have a winner-take-all system, meaning whichever candidate wins the state gets all of that state’s electoral votes. The candidate who reaches 270 electoral votes (a majority) wins the presidency.
State Electoral Vote Allocation
The number of electoral votes each state gets is equal to its total Congressional delegation. Here is the breakdown of electoral votes by state for the 2024 election:
|District of Columbia
As the table shows, the number of electoral votes for each state equals the number of Representatives plus two for each state’s two Senators. The District of Columbia gets 3 electoral votes, even though it doesn’t have any Senators or voting Representatives.
Senators Have No Electoral Votes
Senators do not get any electoral votes themselves. Only the 538 electors that make up the Electoral College get to cast electoral votes. When people go to the polls on Election Day, they are technically voting for which slate of electors from each party they want to represent their state.
Senators have no role in the Electoral College process. They cannot cast electoral votes, nor can they determine how their state allocates its electoral votes. The only influence Senators have is indirect – they can try to get laws passed in their state to change how electoral votes are allocated. But individual Senators do not have electoral votes.
Why Senators Don’t Get Electoral Votes
There are a few key reasons why Senators do not receive any electoral votes:
- Senators are elected statewide, not nationally. Their constituents are only the people of their state, so they don’t represent the whole country like the President does.
- The Electoral College system balances power between state and federal governments. Giving electoral power to Senators would shift that balance too much towards the federal government.
- Having Senators vote would go against the separation of powers. The Executive Branch (President/Vice President) is elected separately from the Legislative Branch (Congress).
- The two votes that states get for their Senators are already represented in the electoral vote count allocated based on Congressional delegation size.
Some Founding Fathers like James Madison preferred having Senators directly elect the President. But the Electoral College system was a compromise that kept the election powers separated.
In summary, Senators have absolutely no electoral votes. The Electoral College is made up of 538 electors who are chosen by the political parties in each state based on state popular vote results. Senators are federal legislators elected by their state’s population, not the entire country. So they do not participate in the Electoral College process in any way. The number of electoral votes each state gets equals its Congressional delegation size, which incorporates the two Senator seats. But the Senators themselves act as representatives of their constituents, not as electors choosing the President. The bottom line is that individual Senators have zero electoral votes allotted to them.