The electoral college system in the United States is an example of a compromise in the United States Constitution.

When the United States was founded, some Americans favored a system of direct democracy, in which after each vote is counted the candidate with the most votes would win.   Other American favored a more indirect system in which either Congress or the States would select the President.

The Electoral College was a compromise.  The system provides that each state designates a certain number of Electors, based on the state’s population.  The state’s Electors vote for a candidate after the states’ citizens finish voting.  The candidate who wins a majority of votes in the Electoral College becomes the President of the United States.

Almost all states follow a winner-take-all system.  That is, the Electors must vote for the candidate who won a plurality of votes in that state.

Get a Civ Pro Quiz Ebook!

101 Civ Pro Questions and Explanations

United States Law: An Introduction for International Students