The Electoral College was established in a compromise between a direct election system, which was supported by James Wilson, and a system whereby the President would be chosen by congress, supported by Edgridge Gerry, in Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution (Houser, 2). It is a group of "electors" who are nominated or appointed by each party within each state. Each state chooses the method in which the electors are appointed. In fact, it is the electors for whom we vote on Election Day. The Electoral College is comprised of 538 members representing the number of the total number of members of the House of Representatives and Senate and three electors representing the District of Columbia. A presidential candidate must have a majority of electoral votes in order to become president.
In December of a presidential election year, the electors meet in their state capitals to cast their vote for President. In theory, this vote is intended to increase the majority of the already popular candidate. Despite recent events, this is usually the case. .
Although, it is remotely possible in a very close election that there will not be one candidate receiving 270 electoral votes, in which case the House of Representatives chooses the President. In this scenario, each state has merely one vote each to decide the presidency out of the top three contenders for the office. The Senate chooses the vice-president out of the top two contenders.
Many people feel that this system is outdated, unfair and/or biased; that it should be replaced with the popular voting system. Unfortunately it is not as simple as stating what "has to be done". Since the Electoral College is found in the constitution, it is most difficult to alter, reform or remove it from existence. "Any congressional record probes that many American representatives like to avoid change" (Houser, 1) thus presenting the first problem.