The electoral college is a formal body of 538 electors that elects the President and Vice President. Each state has as many electors in the Electoral College as it has Senators and Representatives in Congress, including the District of Columbia’s three electors. When voters cast a vote in the Presidential election, they are actually voting for the slate of electors who will then cast their vote for the candidate in the Electoral College. This system was chosen as a compromise between a purely democratic process and one where Congress would choose the President. The electoral college ensures that smaller states have adequate representation in elections as well as it allows for elections to be widely accepted. However, This results in disproportionate voting power to states, with favor being placed on smaller states as well as the inability for voters to directly choose their representation.
There are several occasions in which the President elected lost the popular vote, which many Americans feel isn’t a true representation of what voters want. There is also the possibility of rogue electors. Electors are bound by tradition of voting for the candidate who won their state, but many states don’t have laws regulating an elector’s vote which has proved to be a problem several times throughout elections. Finally, an electoral college reinforces the two-party system by making it harder for a third party candidate to break into the national level and increases the risk that a third party candidate would create a spoiler effect, which discourages people from voting outside of the two-party system.
The electoral college is an aggregate of 538 electors from every state that elects the President and Vice President. This system was chosen as a way to balance the voting power of more populous states and less populous states when voting for the president.