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Studying for a test? Prepare with this lesson on American civics.
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Sal teaches Grover about the electoral college

Video transcript
- Vote for me. Vote for cute and adorable Grover. I am pro-ABCs and for one, two, threes. Plus I promise I have no skeletons in my closet. I do not even have one in my body. - Hey, Grover, what are you doing? - Oh, hello there, Sal Khan. I am just running for president of the United States of America. I heard there was an upcoming election, so I figured, ah, why not? - Well, that's great, Grover. - Yeah! - Maybe we can help more people vote. - Oh, that would be terrific. So exactly how many votes do I need to win? - Well, you know about the electoral college, right? - Of course, Sal, baby. - I know exactly what the electrical-- - Electoral. - Electoral college is. - Great, so why don't we explain it together for those who don't know? - Oh, why certainly. What a brilliant idea. - Umm. Why don't you start us off? - Sure. In a direct democracy, I as a citizen will vote for a candidate. And whichever candidate has the most popular votes in the country, they will become president. But we do not have a direct democracy. We have an indirect democracy. So what happens is, is I vote in my state. I live in California. And whichever candidate gets the most votes in California will get all of California's 55 electoral votes. And that's true in most states. Whoever gets the most votes in that state gets all of the votes for that state. And that number comes from the number of Congresspeople California has. - Um, dah, I am not following you. - So how can I explain it in a way that you might understand? - Chickens. (chickens clucking) I know chickens. Chickens, they are my biggest demo. (chickens clucking) - OK, chickens. So instead of electors, we'll say chickens. Instead of the electoral college, I'll say chicken college. - OK, that I can follow. - OK. The number of chicken votes for each state is equal to the number of Congresspeople for that state. - [Grover] In every state? (chicken clucks) - [Sal] Yes, Grover. - From California to the New York island? From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters. - Yes. The 50 states. (Grover laughs) And so there are a total of 538 chicken votes in the chicken college. For example, Florida has 29 chicken votes. (chicken clucks) And that's the same as the 29 Congresspeople that they have, two senators and 27 representatives. - [Grover] Oh, hello there, chickens. (chickens clucking) OK, then, so how do I, candidate Grover, win the presidency? - Well, since there are 538 chicken votes in total, you just have to get more than half of those. - More than half. Hmm, let me see here. (trumpets play line from "Stars and Stripes Forever") One, carry the two, divided by eight. - Grover, we, we know the actual number. You just have to get at least 270 chicken votes in the chicken college. - Just 270 chickens? I could do that. 300 chickens just crossed the road to hear me speak at the rally. (chickens clucking) - Oh, great, do you have your speech? - Oh, yeah, it's just right here, yeah. Where did I put it, it? Ah, I'll just wing it. Bye, Sal. - Bye, Grover. Now get out there and vote. (chickens cluck) (violins play "Hail to the Chief")