What is Electoral College and why the US has it

A lot of people both inside and outside of the US are extremely confused by Electoral College and why it is being used in the country that pretty much invented democracy. No other democratic country in the world has even a remotely similar voting system. Most of the world’s elections are being won by popular vote. So what is so special about the US voting system and why has it been developed that way?

What is it and how is it used?

First of all, Electoral College exists to elect only President and Vice President of the country, opposite of what some foreigners think. All other elections held in the US do not use this system. In short, the system is quite simple: instead of voting directly for a President, the legislature votes for «electors» who will then cast a vote for POTUS. The electors pledge to vote for a candidate of their choice, and that’s how US citizens «know» which candidate they are voting for.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution states:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The most interesting part is that the US Constitution grants the right to every state to decide on how to choose the electors. But in fact, all of the states and the District of Columbia elect those by popular vote. So, to cut the long story short, US citizens never vote for a President, but rather choose the electors which represent their State.


  1. The electoral college is great if you have a large population , but what about the states that aren’t overpopulated? I feel that at the end of the day each state should have one vote. This vote would come from the total of all the electoral college votes per candidate per state. This would eliminate any argument about who wo or lost. No more campaigning in the large population states only. The POTUS represents all states and every state should have the same vote authority.

  2. Please, this would make the current inequities even worse. Why should Wyoming with a population of 569K have the same political authority as California with 80x more citizens?

  3. most countries in the civilised world have a system where the candidate with the majority number of votes is decaled the winner which is the way it should be.
    the electoral collage is a joke.

  4. Through the Electoral College, the USA has “indirect” democracy. This is unlike the UK, Australia, and Canada which have “direct’ democracy. Prime Ministers, the heads of their respective parties, are elected by popular vote. First across the ‘post’ wins.


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