The Electoral College is a system that has been setup to elect the President of the United States. Over 200 years ago, a committee was formed to determine the best way to elect the President. The three main methods debated for electing the president were by congress, the people, or electors. It was decided that in an effort to keep the checks and balances of our government in order, congress could not elect the president. Although majority felt that the citizens of the United States should elect the president, they felt that the citizens would easily be misinformed and not familiar enough with the candidates to choose the right person. Due to this, it was decided that a group of electors would decide on the President.
Each state casts a number of electoral votes equal to the number of senators and representatives they have. Small states are given at least three votes and the largest state, California, has fifty-four votes. The District of Columbia is also included in the College Electoral process and has three votes, as well. The electors are supposed to cast their votes based on the popular vote in state, but this does not always happen. If a candidate wins a number of big states, even if it is by close margins, and loses other states by wide margins, the candidate could lose the popular vote and still win the electoral vote. Three United States Presidents have already won based upon this scenario.
In 1876, President Rutherford B. Hayes received and won the presidency by one more electoral vote than his opponent. In 1888, Benjamin Harrison defeated President Grover Cleveland with one electoral vote, although President Cleveland won the popular vote. It has once again happened, as George Bush defeated Al Gore in the 2000 election. Al Gore won the popular vote and George Bush walked away with the electoral vote and the Presidency.
Is it no wonder that the actual people who vote in the presidential elections is so low? We constantly hear your vote could be the one that counts. How is that possible in a system that does not always take in a count the popular vote? It is doubtful that we will actually change the constitution to a vote by popular demand, although it is in my opinion that today citizens of the United States have a better understanding and ability to vote for the President themselves without having to rely on electors to get the job done. So what would the best solution be to improve a system that needs tweaking? I believe that we should follow Maine and Nebraska's system of splitting up the electoral votes by Congressional Districts.
There are 435 Congressional Districts in the United States; the candidate that wins the popular demand would get the electoral vote for that district. The candidate that wins the state would automatically get the additional two electoral votes. It would require only an amendment to the constitution and would help bring back actual democracy to America.
When No Majority Rules: The Electoral College and Presidential Succession by Michael J. Glennon.