Why does the Electoral College exist, and how does it work? 5 essential reads
Jeff Inglis, The Conversation
On Dec. 14, the members of the Electoral College will meet in state capitols across the country and cast their ballots for president and vice president. The expected vote total: 306 for Democrat Joe Biden and 232 for Republican Donald Trump. It will be their votes — not the votes of the nearly 160 million Americans who cast ballots on or before Nov. 3 — that will determine whose presidential term will begin on Jan. 20, 2021.
Over the past several months, The Conversation has asked scholars of the Electoral College to explain how this system was developed and how it works and to describe whether — and how — it gives advantages to certain people based on where they live. We’ve collected highlights from several of those articles here.
These 11 men agreed on a compromise that created the Electoral College.
The Conversation, from Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-ND
1. Where did it come from?
Delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 debated three potential ways to pick a president, explains Purdue University civics educator Philip J. VanFossen: “election by Congress, selection by state legislatures and a popular election — though the right to vote was generally restricted to white, landowning men.”
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