To win the presidency, a candidate needs to get more than 50% of the electoral votes. Half of 538 is 269. Therefore, 270 votes are needed to win.
The total number of total electoral votes does not vary from year to year because the number of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate does not change. Instead, every ten year with the new census, the number of electors shifts from states who have lost population to states who have gained population.
Learn more about the electoral college:
- What is the electoral college?
- Why did the Founding Fathers create electors?
- How many electoral votes does a candidate need to win?
- Which states have the most electoral votes?
- How many electors does each state have?
- What about Washington, D.C. and the electoral vote?
- What happens if there is a tie in the electoral college?
- Who are the electors?
- What procedure is followed for the electors to vote?
- Has someone received a plurality of the vote yet lost in the electoral college?
- Has a tie ever occurred in the electoral college? When?
- Why don't the candidates get a proportion of the electoral vote?
- If the state's winner chooses electors, won't the person with the most votes win?
- Why have elections when the state's winner will receive all the electoral votes?
- When do we finally have an official winner?