|Part of the Politics series|
An electoral college is a set of electors who are selected to elect a candidate to a particular office. Often these represent different organizations, political parties, or entities, with each organization, political party or entity represented by a particular number of electors or with votes weighted in a particular way. The system can ignore the wishes of a general membership.
Early Germanic law stated that the German king led only with the support of his nobles. Thus, Pelagius needed to be elected by his Visigothic nobles before becoming king of Asturias, and so did Pepin the Short by Frankish nobles in order to become the first Carolingian king. While most other Germanic nations had developed a strictly hereditary system by the end of the first millennium, the Holy Roman Empire did not, and the King of the Romans, who would become, by papal coronation, Holy Roman Emperor or at least Emperor-elect, was elected by the college of prince-electors from the late Middle Ages until 1806 (the last election took place in 1792).
In the Church, both the clergy and laity elected the bishop or presiding presbyter. However, for various reasons, such as a desire to reduce the influence of the state or the laity in ecclesiastical matters, electoral power became restricted to the clergy and, in the case of the Church in the West, exclusively to a college of the canons of the cathedral church. In the Pope's case, the system of people and clergy was eventually replaced by a college of the important clergy of Rome, which eventually became known as the College of Cardinals. Since 1059, it has had exclusive authority over papal selection.
In the 19th century and beyond, it was usual in many countries that voters did not directly vote the members of parliament. In Prussia for example, in 1849–1918 the voters were Urwähler (original voters), appointing with their vote a Wahlmann (elector). The group of electors in a district elected the deputy for the Prussian House of Representatives. Such indirect suffrage was a means to steer the voting, to make sure that the electors were "able" persons. For electors, the requirements were usually higher than for the original voters. The left wing opposition was very much opposed to indirect suffrage.[ citation needed]
Even today in the Netherlands, the deputies of the First Chamber are elected by the provincial parliaments. Those provincial parliaments form the electoral colleges for the First Chamber elections; the lists of candidates are national.
The ideology of the Electoral College as it exists today stems largely from the distributed nature of governance as it persisted through the European Provinces, descending from the style of the Roman Provincial Government. While provincial government was not a new or unique concept to the Roman Empire, the key distinction was a separation of responsibility, whereby the Emperor(Caesar) overlooked the governors, while the actual laws for the populous of Rome was largely handled by the Senate.
In this way, the Emperor did not directly rule the people, save for occasional decrees, and the origin of the Electoral College was born. This would tradition of governmental roles would translate into the later Germanic Empire following the Fall of Rome, who would intentionally model themselves after Rome, right down to the name of their leader, Kaiser, which is derived from the Latin Caesar.
This tradition would go on to shape the entirety of Aristocratic politics for centuries, even in the military, as the European model for military organization works in a similar manner, with orders being given to direct subordinates, with orders coming from immediate superiors with minimal interaction or command with those outside of immediate adjacency. The system of Peerage in Europe right up to the Uniform Code of Military Justice which establishes the laws and hierarchy of the United States Military.
This pre- Enlightenment tradition would be modernized along with Representative Democracy, and the Sovereignty of the State as an independent entity. In the notable example of the United States of America, the Electoral College is a reflection of the Federalist notion, that the purpose of the Federal Government is to govern the states, not the people of those states, and that governance of the populous as was relevant within the purview of the state, be left entirely to the state outside of the governmental domain.
Specifically within the United States, the electoral college became an entity whose purpose is outlined in Federalist No. 68, which enumerates the various reasons for and advantages of the electoral college.
The electoral college firstly serves to eliminate many of the concerns present in Non-Representative Democracies, or Direct democracy, which are subject to foreign influence or exploitation, as well as "Mob Rule" which is the tendency of the majority to trample or exploit the minority in a direct democracy. Additionally, it assigns responsibility to individuals for the outcome of the election. This stems from the assumption that a direct democracy permits people to act with anonymity and impunity, whereas a recognizable figure making choices would be held to a higher standard of honesty and integrity, than an anonymous party casting a ballot for reasons which could be poorly informed or formulated.
Secondly, it is an opportunity for intervention on the part of the state in a population where understanding of the needs, direction, and complexities of the state is not a reasonable expectation of the general population.Given the assumption (which is also the assumption of Federalism) that the Federal Government's sole responsibility is to provide the states with essential services which they can not provide to themselves- which are most notably military protection, interstate contractual enforcement, and interstate negotiation; it would then stand to reasons that persons appointed by the state, rather than the population at large, would be the most well equipped to make decisions regarding the interests of the state at large, whereas individuals, such as in a popular vote, are only best equipped to make judgements based on their needs and understandings as individuals.
Given that the needs and wants of the individuals within the Nation are outside the purview of the Federal Government, and the entities governed by the Federal Government are not the people, but the Sovereign States, then the mode of election for the President would reflect the status of the state as a series of equal and separate entities from the people who compose them. Essentially, the popular vote should be largely irrelevant to the presidency, and that popular vote should be one of, but not the sole factor, which weighs into the informed and responsible members decision's in casting their ballot.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (April 2015) ( Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The United States Electoral College is an example of a system in which an executive president is indirectly elected,  with electors representing the 50 states and the federal district. Each state has a number of electors equal to its Congressional representation (in both houses), with the non-state District of Columbia receiving the number it would have if it were a state, but in no case more than that of the least populous state.  The electors generally cast their votes for the winner of the popular vote in their respective states.  However, there are several states where this is not required by law. In the United States, 270 electoral votes are currently required to win the presidential election. 
"Colleges" of electors play a role in elections in other countries, albeit with electors allocated in ways differing from the United States. In Germany, the members of the federal parliament together with an equal number of people elected from the state parliaments constitute the Federal Convention, that exists for the only purpose of electing the (non-executive) head of state.  Similarly, in India the members of the both houses of parliament together with weighted votes from the members of the state legislative assemblies constitute an electoral college that elects the head of state.  In Italy, the (non-executive) head of state is elected by the members of both houses of Parliament in joint session, together with delegates elected by the Regional Councils to ensure the representation of minorities. 
Other countries with electoral college systems include Burundi, Estonia,  Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Myanmar, Pakistan, Trinidad and Tobago  and Vanuatu. Both the French Senate and the Seanad Éireann (Senate) in Ireland are chosen by electoral colleges. Within China, both Macau  and Hong Kong each have an Election Committee which functions as an electoral college for selecting the Chief Executive and formerly (in the case of Hong Kong) for selecting some of the seats of the Legislative Council. Georgia will have the Electoral College to elect the President of Georgia beginning in 2024. 
Ecclesiastical electoral colleges abound in modern times, especially among Protestant and Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. In the Eastern rite churches, all the bishops of an autocephalous church elect successor bishops, thus serving as an electoral college for all the episcopal sees.[ citation needed]
Historical examples of electoral colleges include Finland's, which elected the country's president between 1919 and 1988. The electoral college was replaced by direct elections (consisting of two-round voting) since 1994 and by a simultaneous reduction of presidential power.
During Brazil's military rule period, the president was elected by an electoral college comprising senators, deputies, state deputies, and lawmakers in the cities. The electoral college was replaced with a two-round system direct election in 1989, after the restoration of democracy.
Argentina had an electoral college established by its original 1853 Constitution, which was used to elect its president.  The constitution was amended in 1949 and the electoral college was replaced with direct elections by popular vote used in the elections of 1951. After the Revolución Libertadora the 1957 reform repealed the 1949 Constitution and the electoral college was used again in the elections of 1958 and 1963. The elections of March 1973 and September 1973 used direct elections by popular vote and a not used two-round system according to the Temporary Fundamental Statute enacted by the military junta in 1972. The elections of 1983 and 1989 used again the electoral college. The constitution was amended in 1994 and the electoral college was replaced with direct elections by popular vote, using a two-round system since 1995.
Paraguay had an electoral college established by the 1870 Constitution, which was used to elect its president. The constitution was amended in 1940 and the electoral college was replaced with direct elections by popular vote since 1943.
Chile had an electoral college established by the 1828 Constitution, which was used to elect its president in the elections from 1829 to 1920. The constitution was amended in 1925 and the electoral college was replaced with direct elections by popular vote since 1925.
In France, the president was elected by the legislature from 1875 to 1954. The first presidential election of the Fifth Republic which elected Charles de Gaulle was the only presidential election where the winner was determined via an electoral college. The electoral college was replaced after the 1962 referendum, with direct elections by popular vote, using a Two-round system since 1965.
In Spain, during the Second Republic period (1931-1936/39) the President was elected by an electoral college comprising the Parliament members and an equal number of democratically elected members ("compromisarios").
Another type of Electoral College was used by the British Labour Party to choose its leader between 1983 and 2010. The college consisted of three sections: the votes of Labour MPs and MEPs; the votes of affiliated trade unions and socialist societies; and the votes of individual members of Constituency Labour Parties. 
Early in United States history, state legislatures were essentially electoral colleges for both the U.S. Senate and even the federal Electoral College itself. Prior to 1913, U.S. state legislatures appointed U.S. senators from their respective states, and prior to 1872, U.S. presidential electors were in many cases chosen by state legislatures (though most states had switched to popular elections for electors by 1824). Because state legislatures had so much influence over federal elections, state legislative elections were frequently proxy votes for either the Senate or the presidency. The famed 1858 Lincoln–Douglas debates, reputedly held during a U.S. Senate campaign in Illinois, actually occurred during an election for the Illinois state legislature; neither Lincoln's nor Douglas' names appeared on any ballot. During the American Civil War, the Confederacy used an Electoral College that was functionally identical to that of the United States; it convened just once, in 1861, to elect Jefferson Davis as president.
- Collin, Richard Oliver; Martin, Pamela L. (2012-01-01). An Introduction to World Politics: Conflict and Consensus on a Small Planet. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442218031.
- "Presidential Election Laws".
- "Who are the Electors?".
- "What happens if no presidential candidate gets 270 Electoral votes?".
- The Federal President and the Federal Convention Archived 4 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine – retrieved on 16 January 2015
- Constitution of India 84th Amendment – retrieved on 16 January 2015
- "The Italian Constitution". The official website of the Presidency of the Italian Republic.
- Constitution of Estonia, section 79 Archived 2 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine – retrieved on 4 April 2008
- Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago, section 28 Archived 8 April 2008 at the Wayback Machine – retrieved on 4 April 2008
- Austin Ramzy (9 July 2014). "Macau Activists Plan Hong Kong-Style Poll on Greater Democracy". The New York Times.
- "New Constitution of Georgia comes into play as the presidential inauguration is over". Agenda.ge. 17 December 2018. Retrieved 6 January 2019.
- The Constitution of Argentina of 1853, 32nd to 63rd Articles – retrieved on 16 January 2015
- Labour Party Rule Book rule 4B.2c – quoted in House of Commons Research Note SN/PC/3938: Labour Party Leadership Elections Archived 27 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 6 February 2008
- " A Handbook of Electoral System Design" from International IDEA
- A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787–1825