Every presidential election year, web searches about the electoral college spike. (That’s to be expected.) But users’ specific queries also seem to highlight the cyclical debate about the complexity and usefulness of the American electoral system. Here are the top five questions about the process, according to Google Trends:
A quick rundown: The electoral college, instituted by the founding fathers as a compromise between Congress and the votes of the general population, is made up of 538 votes–one vote for each state’s House representative, and one for each state’s two senators. The winner of the election only needs a majority of these votes (or 270) to clench the presidency, and as Gore v. Bush underscored, it is entirely possible for a candidate to win via the electoral college and lose the popular vote.