Why do we need an Electoral College to determine our president? Isn’t the popular vote a better way to elect a President? After all, the popular vote is the method to select Senators, Congressional representatives, Governors, etc.
The President is based on a national election. Our founders designed our government with checks and balances to limit control by a majority. The Executive, Legislative, and Judicial are designed to limit overreach by the other branches. The branches were designed as follows:
Congress – Each state is allocated representatives based on population.
Senate – Each state was allocated 2 Senators per state. The state legislators voted on the Senators. In 1913, (Woodrow Wilson’s term), the 17th amendment was ratified, which authorized Senators to be elected by popular vote.
Judicial – Appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. Legislatures need an amendment to overturn Judicial decisions.
President is decided by an electoral college instead of popular vote. The founders knew that the heavily populated states could dominate an election. How could they limit the impact? Through an electoral college. There are 538 electoral votes. The same total as Congress, 438 representatives plus 100 Senators. The plurality wins the same number of electoral votes in a state regardless of the margin of victory. In North Carolina we have 15 electoral college votes. If a candidate wins with 40% or 100%, then they both receive 15. This forces a candidate to campaign in all states. Otherwise they could target California, New York, and Illinois and avoid South Dakota. This encourages a national campaign to woo all voters. The electoral college is another example of the founder’s foresight and wisdom.