The Electoral College

The framers of the Constitution set up the Electoral College for a number of different reasons. According to Alexander Hamilton in Federalist Paper Number 68, the body was a compromise at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia between large and small states. Many of the latter worried that states such as Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia would dominate the presidency so they devised an institution where each state had Electoral College votes in proportion to the number of its senators and House members. 

Article II of the Constitution outlines the need for the president to be elected every four years using an electoral college, with the electorate in all states voting on the same day. The Founding Fathers feared popular sovereignty, so they created the electoral college to act as a filter or check on public opinion

.How does it work?

Click here for : The Electoral College Explained

                                                                                                                               ·    Each state has a value of electoral college votes (ECV) based on the number of congresspersons plus the number of Senators (in other words, +2) for that state. In addition, the 23rd amendment gives Washington DC three ECV.

·    Candidates compete on a state-by-state basis, with the winner receiving all the electoral college votes in that state.

·    All states use a 'winner takes all' system (even though the Constitution lets states decide how to allocate ECV).

·    To win the presidency a candidate requires more than 50 per cent of ECV: 270 of the 538 votes available.

·    The ECV is not simply a points-based system. In each state, the ECV number represents the number of delegates (or electors) who are selected.

·    Larger states have a larger number of delegates, although this is not proportional to population. The constitution says that the value of each state is equal to the number of congresspersons plus the number of Senators.

·    The 538 delegates who make up the electoral college vote to decide who the president will be.

·    Most states require their delegates to vote according to state opinion, but 21 states make no such requirement.

·    Maine and Nebraska use a winner-takes-all system, but two of their ECV are allocated to the winner of the whole state, and further ECV are awarded to the winner in each district within the state.

'Rogue' or 'faithless' electors