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What advantages did the founding fathers see in electoral college that made them pick it over other potential voting systems?

  • I think this could be better worded as what are the advantages of the electoral college? – UKB Dec 6 '12 at 0:19
  • Nope, the motive of my question is to know the reasons why they selected that system over any other, on that time maybe the founder fathers noticed something important from this system. – Alberto Bonsanto Dec 6 '12 at 0:21
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    iirc but I can't find the source thus no official answer, this was due to the fact that the founding fathers wanted to have a mixture between population-based and state-based government (because the smaller states had the fear they would be dominated). Another possibility would be that at first a nationwide candidate could not campaign everywhere, so he needed surrogates to campaign for him, the electors that pledged allegiance to him. As I said, I can't find the source so consider it a starting point for further research… – Sven Clement Dec 6 '12 at 0:25
  • Perhaps with regards to population based vs state based you're thinking of the reason for having two houses in congress? However the national campaigning would make sense. – UKB Dec 6 '12 at 0:37
  • @SvenClement is very important i never thought it that way. – Alberto Bonsanto Dec 6 '12 at 0:39
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I'll quote my answer from a related question:

When the Constitution was written in 1787, information traveled much more slowly than it does today, and the framers believed that most people would not be well-informed about issues and candidates outside of their own state. Consequently, rather than having people vote directly for the President, they instead had people vote for electors, who would be prominent, well-informed citizens of their respective states. The idea was that people would vote for electors whom they generally agreed with and would trust to make the right decision. Electors would then use their individual judgment in voting for President.

There are two other things that should also be noted:

  • The Constitution doesn't actually say anything about how electors should be chosen. This is left to individual states, which can use any method they want—and they don't have to hold a general election. Early in the country's history, electors in the majority of states were chosen by vote of the state legislature, not by the people directly. Gradually, direct election became the norm.
  • Under the Constitution, if no single candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the President is chosen from among the top three candidates by vote of the House of Representatives. The framers did not anticipate the formation of a two-party system, so it may have been thought that this outcome would be typical rather than extraordinary. In that case, the Electoral College would have been a system for nominating presidential candidates, with the House actually choosing the President.

In short, the Electoral College was designed to balance the desire for a democratically elected executive with the distrust of the common people held by some of the framers.

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