The U.S. Constitution established the Electoral College. Some of the Founding Fathers wanted Congress to pick the President, while others wanted citizens to decide. The Electoral College was a compromise. Each state is assigned a number of electoral votes, based on its population. A candidate needs 270 of 538 total electoral votes to become President. The map above shows the Election 2012 results.
Many people think it would be more fair for the popular vote alone to decide elections. Others agree with our Founding Fathers that the Electoral College is necessary. Below, two readers share their views.
Giovanni Rivera, 12 Shutesbury, Massachusetts
The Electoral College gives small states a better chance to help elect the President. Without it, candidates would spend all their time trying to win votes in big cities. Also, if popular votes alone determined the outcome of an election, more elections would be close enough to need recounts. The Electoral College is a compromise between the needs of small and large states.
Nicole Taurany, 10 Foster City, California
With the Electoral College, one candidate might win the popular vote, but the other might become President by winning more electoral votes. That is unfair. Also, 48 out of 50 states have a winner-takes-all method of distributing electoral votes. If a state is clearly "red" or "blue," the candidate who is likely to win or lose the state's electoral votes does less campaigning there.
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