Five times in history, presidential candidates have won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College. This has led some to question why Americans use this system to elect their presidents in the first place.

Among the many thorny questions debated by the delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, one of the hardest to resolve was how to elect the president. The Founding Fathers debated for months, with some arguing that Congress should pick the president and others insistent on a democratic popular vote.

Their compromise is known as the Electoral College.

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