This has been a topic of debate for a few years now.  Mostly because twice in recent elections, the popular vote has gone to the candidate that doesn't actually win the election.  It's so weird.  Generally, things go as planned but with a country as divided as we currently are, this kind of SNAFU happens.

The way the electoral college is set up per state depends on how many people make up congress.  That consists of all the senators, representatives and then 3 more for Washington DC.  That makes up 538 total electoral people/votes.  And obviously it varies by state.

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This is unusual, but sometimes- and as we have seen in a couple of recent elections, one of which was just 4 years ago, the popular vote can go to one candidate and the electoral votes go to the other, and according to the 12th and 23rd amendments to the constitution, that is what decides the winner.

So, why do we even vote?  Because that is what determines who the electoral college votes will go to.  It also means that you don't have 3-4 states determining the winner of each presidential election.  For instance, if it was only decided by the popular vote, California, Texas, New York, and maybe Florida would decide who wins the election each time.  Mostly because a larger amount of the population lives in those states. This is also how a candidate could potentially win more states than the actual winner of the election.  If one candidate wins the big states, they can win the election because of the amount of electoral votes.

So, all in all, is this a fair system?  Should we only go with the popular vote?  If we, as a country, were to make that change, it would have to be another amendment to the US Constitution.