The Phases of Any Election Process

Let us next outline the three phases of any election process. They can be described as:

    1.    Nomination—the possibilities
    2.    Candidate Selection—the probabilities
    3.    Final Vote—the ultimate selection—the pick

Each of these phases pertains to a separate function that can be performed using one of the following election methodologies:
a)   Direct election by the whole electorate (all voters) in a democracy
b)   Indirect election by delegates in a representative republic
c)   Indirect election for one phase and direct election for another phase
d)   Indirect election by separate sets of delegates (electors) representing different interests for each phase.

The Framers designed a complex representative republic implementing all of these methods. They chose this last method (indirect election by separate sets of delegates) to select the President and Vice-president of the United States.

The Phases of the Electoral College System

Let us describe the purpose and function of the electoral system outlined in the Constitution in terms of these three phases. The original design can be summarized as follows:


1.   Each state was to designate a certain number of wise men, titled Electors, to nominate the best possible candidates for president.

Candidate Selection

2.   Candidate selection was accomplished by counting the nominations; the five highest were the field of candidates. If a majority of the Electors nominated a particular individual, he would be named President, bypassing the deciding vote of the House of Representatives.

Final Vote

3.   The House of Representatives would choose the President from among up to five individuals who received the highest number of nominations by the Electors with each state casting one vote.

A detailed explanation of the original Electoral College System will be done in terms of each of these separate phases. Please try to block out perceptions of how the system currently works. The current system will be described later in contrast to the original intent of the Framers. We first must understand the original design so that it can serve as our baseline.