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The Importance Of The Electoral College

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The question of how to select the president was one of the most contentious considered by the Constitutional Convention in 1787, with big and small states, slave- and free-states pushing their interests. As a result, in Article 2, section 1 of the Constitution, the Electoral College is set up. The delegates of the Constitutional Convention decided on this system of indirect election of the president. This resulted because some delegates supported a direct election by citizens while others favored having Congress choose the president. Still others thought that state legislatures should make the choice. Originally, each state would choose electors equal in number to its representatives and senators. The electors would vote for two candidates each, at least one of whom had to be from another state. The person that would end up receiving the most votes would become President; the runner-up became the Vice President. If no person received a majority, the House of Representatives would choose from the leading three candidates, somewhat similar to our current rule in case of neither candidate garnering at least 270 electoral votes. However today, to become President, a candidate must win 270 electoral votes, an absolute majority. The College currently consists of 538 electors, the total number of representatives and senators, plus 3 electors for the District of Columbia. Also, candidates are now nominated to run only for president or only for vice president. Electors vote for
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