When American voters select a new president,whom they elect is not actually thecandidate himself,but a group of representatives called the Electoral College. The framers ofthe Constitution intended this body of electors to be a safeguard against the dangers of direct popular election. They were unwilling to entrust too much power to the common people, and thus created an intermediate body of voters who ostensibly represent the wishes of the people. The original plan laid out by the Constitution provides for a number of electors in each state equal to that state’s number of legislative representatives. The method for selecting those electors was left entirely up to the individual states. Up until the 1820’s, most states chose their electors by legislative appointment. Later, the states instituted a system of direct, popular election. In the over 200 years since its founding, many disputes have erupted over the electoral system. The fact that it is possible for a president to be elected to office even though the majority of the popular vote belongs to his opponent has caused the bulk of these controversies. For example, in the election of 1876, Samuel J. Tilden received over 200,000 more votes than his opponent, Rutherford B. Hayes, but Hayes still won the presidency. Similarly, Grover Cleveland lost to Benjamin Harrison in the 1888 elections, even though Cleveland should have won according to the popular polls. In today’s system, the Republican and Democratic parties each has a set of electors in every state, and these electors almost consistently vote as a unit. The party candidate that receives the most popular votes in any particular state has his party’s electors sent to the general vote. The losing party forfeits the right to send even a single elector, regardless of any proportion they win of the popular vote. This situation has led many people to criticize the Electoral College as undemocratic. The disparity sometimes created between the results of the popular vote and the electoral vote causes some concern that the system does not accurately represent the will of the people and should therefore be discarded from the American electoral process.