The Electoral College came up on the Jefferson Exchange this morning. Specifically how many votes each state has and where those numbers originated. The electoral votes represent the sum of the number of representatives and senators each state has.
The Electoral College was a compromise. The thirteen original colonies regarded themselves as independent states. They handled their own legal systems, customs dues, everything that an independent country would do. Getting these prickly cactuses to compromise and give up some of these powers was very difficult.
In fact the whole system of elections was a compromise: direct election for the House of Representatives, election of senators by the state legislatures, and very indirect election of the president by the Electoral College. In fact, we aren’t really voting for the candidates when we cast our votes. We are choosing a slate of electors who promise to vote for the candidate. I don’t think there is any statute that requires that they keep their promises. Theoretically, when the electors meet, they could decide the hell with the whole slate and choose Mother Theresa (if she was still alive) for president.
The Electoral College favors the smaller states. It was a definite compromise to encourage the small states like New Hampshire and Connecticut to ratify the constitution. They were afraid that the larger states like New York and Pennsylvania would swamp them.