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Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution provides for the Electoral College to be the device for electing the president and vice president. Each state was entitled to the number of electors equal to the sum of its senators plus its representatives. At the time of voting, each elector was to cast two ballots, supposedly selecting the two most qualified candidates. No distinction was to be made between the offices of president and vice president, but the candidate with the highest number of votes (if a majority) was to assume the former office and the runner-up the latter.
In case of a tie or plurality, a disputed election was to be submitted to the House of Representatives, where each state would cast a single vote.
The states were responsible for determining how to select the electors. Some states used popular elections, while others turned the task over to the state legislatures.
The idea of using the Electoral College was favored by the framers of the Constitution as a means of avoiding direct election, which was feared by many as too democratic.
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