What We Do:

We can help you become an explanation specialist.

Common Craft Membership

Start your life as an explainer with Common Craft Membership. Prices start at just $49 per year. It provides:

Cut-Outs:

Make your presentation or video remarkable with 800+ digital images in Common Craft Style, plus Know-How resources for using them.

Download a Sample

Ready-made Videos:

Educate others with 50+ ready-made video explanations that you can embed on your website or download for offline use.

Test embedding a video

We Wrote the Book on Explanation

The Art of Explanation

A book by Lee LeFever

The Art of Explanation will help you become an explainer.

Learn More

Need a Video for Your Product?

The Explainer Network

Our network of custom video producers can create short, animated videos that make your product or service easier to understand.

Find a Producer

Video Transcript

Every four years, Americans who are 18 or older have a big responsibility. Our votes decide who becomes the president of the United States. Unfortunately the US election system isn't that simple.

It's easy to imagine every US citizen's vote being counted together on election day. But this is not the case. US elections are not decided by the total or popular vote, but individual states.  Let me explain.

It starts with your vote. On election day you’ll vote for president and their vice president. You get one choice. Then, all the votes in your state are counted.  The candidate with the most state-wide votes becomes the candidate your state supports for president. This happens across the country until each state has selected their candidate.

We end up with most of the 50 states and the District of Columbia voting to support 1 candidate each.  But there's a problem.   We can't elect a president by just counting up the choices of these states - US states are different.

Consider this: California has about 36 million people, Kansas has less than 3 million. We need a way for California's choice to have more influence on the election because the state has more people. The question becomes - how do we make sure each state has the right amount of influence on the election?

Well, we need to account for the population of each state.

As an example, Let's consider my home state of North Carolina... Like every state, it is divided up into congressional districts that are based on population. North Carolina has 13 districts, California has 53 and Kansas has four. When it comes to a state's influence on the election, the number of districts matters most. More population = More districts =  More influence.

The influence a state has in the election is measured by the number of "electors". This number comes from the number of districts in a state plus the number of U.S. senators - which is always two. North Carolina has 15 electors, California has 55.

When a candidate wins the voting in a state, they win that state’s number of electors. That's why big, populous states can be so important to candidates – their electors add up quickly.  And the number of electors is what really matters. Here’s why…

If you add up the electors of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, there are 538 in total. The goal on election day is to win the majority of 538 – or 270 electors. Once a candidate wins enough states to reach the 270 majority, they have won the election and become the president elect.

So, let's recap - Your vote helps your state choose a single candidate. That candidate receives all the electors from your state. The candidate who can win enough states to reach 270 total electors wins the national election and becomes the president elect.

Then, on the following January 20th, the president elect is sworn in as the next president of the United States. Yay!

It all starts with your vote. Make it count.

What it teaches

This video discusses the basic ideas behind the U.S. electoral process. It follows the chronological steps from voting to election day, focusing on each state's role, including:

  • Comparisons of popular vote vs. state votes
  • Impact of state population on the number of electors
  • How electors are counted
  • What is required for a president to be elected

Features of Common Craft Membership

We wrote the book on explanation.

Learn More

 

Who uses Common Craft?

Businesses and schools, large and small, in over 50 countries enlighten and motivate with Common Craft explanations.

Explainer Network Image

Common Craft Custom Videos

We can help you get a custom video that explains your product or service. 

Contact Us

 

Question Graphic

Still have questions?

Go to FAQAsk Common Craft

Get new video alerts by email!