History of the Electoral College
The Electoral College is the name for the electors who nominally choose the president and vice president of the United States. Each of the states receives a certain number of electors, which is determined by the total number of senators and representatives it sends to the U.S. Congress. Therefore, each state has at least 3 electors. The Electoral College was devised by the Framers of the Constitution as a procedure to elect the president by the people, at least indirectly. The framers came up with this procedure for many reasons. Such reasons included the lack of information to make a good choice by the people and it was also a way to control the power of the people. Although the Electoral College is still used today, it has undergone several changes and still contains certain weaknesses.
When the Constitutional Convention chose a method of selecting a president, they took several problems into consideration. The first problem they had to solve was the lack of information that the people had due to poor communication. At the time the U.S. contained approximately 4 million people who lived spread apart along the Atlantic coast with very little communication or transportation. This made it difficult for the people to choose a president from a list of people that they know little about. Another main reason they chose a system such as the Electoral College was as a way to control the power of the people. The members of the convention felt that the direct election of the president by the people would give them too much power.
Before choosing the Electoral College, the Constitutional Convention came up with several methods of selecting a president with those reasons under consideration. One idea the convention came up with was to have Congress choose the president. This idea was rejected because some felt that this procedure could lead to political bargaining, corruption, possible interference from foreign powers, and an upset in the balance of powers. Another idea was to have the State legislature choose the president. However, this idea was also rejected for similar reasons. A third idea that was taken under consideration was a procedure that involved the election of the president by a direct popular vote. This idea was rejected because the members of the convention felt that the people did not have enough information about candidates outside their state. Therefore, they would choose for the most popular person in their state and no candidate would ever receive a majority of votes enough to become president. After rejecting all ideas, the convention finally decided on a method of indirect election of the president through the Electoral College.
After choosing the Electoral College as the method of selecting the president, the Framers described...